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October 29, 2014

Oswego County Responds to Ebola Concerns

OSWEGO - Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang told the Oswego County Legislature's Health Committee today that several county agencies are working closely with the county health department to develop procedures and precautionary plans in response to the Ebola virus.

"I want to stress that we have no information about anyone in Oswego County who has or may have the disease. That being said, we are working with relevant county departments and agencies to coordinate a preparedness response to the Ebola virus, even though it still looks an unlikely occurrence here in the county," said Huang.

Following the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and NYS Department of Health guidelines, the county health department and emergency management office are monitoring Ebola situations around the country and developing protocols and plans in response to the disease. They are partnering with local hospitals and clinics, healthcare providers, ambulance services, firefighters and first responders, and other state agencies in this mission.

Huang said, "We want to be proactive, but we do not have a cause for fear. Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact with an infected individual's blood and other body fluids. It is not like the flu which is transmitted through respiratory droplets. I hope everyone knows the facts about Ebola, and practices disease prevention measures, just as we would to reduce the chance of getting any other disease."

The county health department has developed an information sheet for people to reference. It is posted on their Web site at http://www.oswegocounty.com/health/ebola fact sheet.pdf.

Ebola was first discovered in Africa in 1976. Since then, outbreaks have appeared there sporadically. The current epidemic is centered in the countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Ebola is spread only by direct contact, either through the eyes, nose, mouth or broken skin, with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with the Ebola virus. A person infected with the Ebola virus cannot spread the disease until symptoms appear.

The incubation period, or the time from exposure to the appearance of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days; however the average time is 8 to 10 days. Symptoms include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.

Ebola is not spread through the air like the influenza virus, nor is it passed through water and food such as Salmonella, E-coli or food poisoning.

The Oswego County Health Department reminds people that the best ways to protect against viruses and other diseases are to:

Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Do not touch the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick or items that may have come into contact with those fluids. Parents should practice caution and

use gloves in the care of sick children.

Get the flu shot to protect themselves as well as their families and co-workers.

For more information about Ebola please visit the State Department of Health web site at www.health.ny.gov/disease, or contact the Oswego County Health Department at (315) 349-3547, www.oswegocounty.com/health.

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