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No Ebola in NJ but precautions are being taken

The CDC has stated the Ebola virus poses a very low risk to the U.S. population, but with mounting concerns about the deadly disease, CentraState Medical Center in Freehold has isolated a patient recently back from Africa that was exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

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An ambulance departs Dobbins Air Reserve Base near Interstate 75, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Marietta, Ga. to transport an American infected with the Ebola virus to Emory University hospital. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Health officials say the individual has been improving, and it has been determined the person had no known exposure to Ebola, but as a precaution, infectious disease protocols were implemented.

“What people should understand is New Jersey has a well-established relationship with our healthcare providers and our public health officials. Our hospitals have infection control programs in which they train and are ready to deal with potential infectious patients that come through their doors at any given day,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd.

The commissioner said there are several measure in place that healthcare providers must follow.

“Physicians and hospital workers follow very specific protocols on how to protect themselves as well as other patients, and how to observe a patient if they have any concerns, which includes protocols like managing a patient in isolation so that they are not around others who are not appropriately protected,” O’Dowd said.

She also stressed all medical centers in the state will always increase their readiness and surveillance when there is a need to, in the event that a particular disease is being circulated.

“They are very specifically looking for signs and symptoms or travel history, as may be related to a particular type of communicable disease that could be of concern,” she said.

At the same time, the commissioner said the federal government has U.S. quarantine stations throughout the country as part of a very comprehensive system to limit the introduction of any new diseases that might come into the United States at ports of entry, such as at Newark Liberty International Airport.

She also said we have a comprehensive health alert system in place that keeps all doctors up to speed on what’s going on.

“We have put out several messages over the last week specifically going to our local health departments, our healthcare providers as well as our hospitals across the state,” she said. “The messages include guidelines for prevention in hospitals and other settings, as well as how to evaluate a potential case and who to report any suspect cases to, so that the public health authorities are there immediately, and can work together on the local, state and national level to ensure that our population stays healthy.”

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