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Keeping Boone County Safe from Ebola and Other Infectious Diseases

November 11, 2014

Boone County Hospital and Boone County Public Health are working closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health in response to the West African illness called Ebola.  Ebola can be scary, and with the recent media coverage of this disease, it is understandable there may be concerns that a case of Ebola could occur in or around Boone County; however, there is a world of difference between the United States and the parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading.  The United States, Iowa, and Boone County have a strong healthcare system, and Boone County Hospital and Public Health professionals are prepared to handle contagious illnesses.

“Boone County residents can be confident that Boone County Hospital (BCH) has protocols and proper protective equipment in place for individuals who contract contagious diseases,” says Mark Addy, BCH Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.  “Our hospital and staff are well trained and ready for any public health threat, should the need arise.”

Mark says the public should be aware they will be asked questions regarding their current health condition when they check in for an appointment at BCH, one of its clinics or the Emergency Room; they will also be asked if they have traveled to or been in contact with anyone that has traveled overseas, specifically West Africa.

t is important to remember the Ebola virus is not spread through the air, and it is only contagious if the infected person is having active symptoms.  Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person experiencing symptoms of the disease such as fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle aches; it can also be spread through exposure to objects such as used, contaminated needles.  It is also important to realize that the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is extremely low, there have been no cases of the disease in Iowa, and the U.S. Public Health System is taking extraordinary measures to keep this risk low. 

Mark says, “We take illness seriously and we want to make sure our patients, visitors and staff are protected from any and all illnesses.” In addition, “Area residents can take steps now to protect themselves. Unless you have medical reasons to not receive the flu vaccine, you should get one. You should also remember to wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze and if you are not feeling well, stay home!”

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