HEALTH ALERT: Is the Inland Northwest ready should an Ebola outb - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

HEALTH ALERT: Is the Inland Northwest ready should an Ebola outbreak happen here?

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Spokane health officials ready for an Ebola outbreak Spokane health officials ready for an Ebola outbreak
SPOKANE, Wash. - Since the first U.S. diagnosis of ebola, in Dallas, health officials have been doubling down on precautions. Now, there's news that there may be even more people infected. Dallas health officials are closely monitoring a possible second Ebola patient who had contact with the first person to be diagnosed in the U.S.

Not only that, health officials say a patient placed in isolation at a Honolulu-area hospital Wednesday may be infected with the Ebola virus.

While there haven't been any reported cases here in the northwest, the Spokane Regional Health District says the city, and all our area hospitals, are more than prepared to handle an outbreak.

On Wednesday, district officials confirmed there have been a handful of people that traveled back to Spokane after being in Africa during the Ebola outbreak. Dr. Joel McCullough says those patients were being monitored for symptoms, but none ever developed. Symptoms for those who contracted the virus including fever, severe headaches, diarrhea or vomiting, muscle and stomach pains, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. People showing any of these symptoms are not allowed to travel, and anyone that is leaving an infected area is given instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms.

Dr. McCullough went on to say that unlike some diseases, Ebola is difficult ton contract. It's spread through direct contact with an infected person's body fluids, or on objects like syringes. Dr. McCullough says the virus is not spread through the air, or water.

So would the Inland Northwest be ready if an outbreak happened here? Dr. McCullough says he thinks so. "We are able to detect diseases because people with ebola become very sick and they seek medical attention," Dr. McCullough says "We have a good healthcare system here that will contain the virus and prevent transmission." Dr. McCullough says many hospitals in Spokane have specialized equipment that will help contain a possible outbreak. And while there is no cure for Ebola, there are effective treatments that are available, and once someone recovers from Ebola, they are no longer able to spread the virus. 


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