FAQs About Ebola and Los Angeles

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Amid growing concerns about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, county health care official Dr. Robert Kim-Farley answered questions this week about L.A.’s preparedness. Here is the reassuring update:

Has anyone been diagnosed with Ebola in Los Angeles?
No, no one has been diagnosed with the virus. Several patients have been tested and treated at area hospitals for possible infections, but none were determined to be sick with Ebola.

Phew. What are local health authorities doing to prepare Los Angeles for an outbreak?
They’re working to implement prevention and care guidelines based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the Los Angeles Times, those guidelines require health care workers to wear protective goggles, gloves, masks, and gowns when interacting with possible Ebola patients, to isolate those patients, and to inquire about the travel history of patients experiencing symptoms associated with Ebola.

Who’s in charge of keeping L.A. safe from an outbreak?
Dr. Robert Kim-Farley is the director of Los Angeles County’s department of communicable disease control and prevention. He addressed questions about the county’s preparedness on Wednesday, and his department will be the first to be notified by health workers when they are confronted with a possible case of Ebola.

What else are Dr. Kim-Farley and his team doing at this point?
As a precautionary step, they’re working with and training hospital workers to safely care for and isolate an Ebola patient.

Anything else I should know?
If you traveled on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on October 13, health professionals would like to speak with you because Amber Vinson, a health care worker diagnosed with Ebola, was on that flight and may have exposed other travelers to the virus. Passengers should call 1-800-CDC-INFO. If not, continue to fret not: “We’re prepared,” said Kim-Farley.

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