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California Department of Public Health Defines Roles in the Prevention of Ebola Spread 

Date: 10/20/2014 

Number: 14-086 

Contact: Anita Gore - (916) 440-7259 


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today is reiterating the notification process in the event someone is believed to be showing symptoms of Ebola virus disease.  Dr. Ron Chapman, CDPH director and state health officer, says, “There are protocols in place throughout the state public health system to protect Californians from the spread of this disease.  As the situation evolves, protocols may change."

If you have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea, or have been exposed to someone infected with Ebola within the last 21 days and are experiencing fever, headache, weakness, muscle pain, vomiting or diarrhea you should call your health care provider right away or go to the emergency room.  You should make clear to the health care providers your travel history, Ebola exposure and your symptoms.

Health Care Providers
If you are contacted by a patient or treat a patient with a travel history or other exposure to Ebola and they are experiencing fever or other Ebola symptoms, you should isolate the patient, notify the local health officer immediately, and treat the patient following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols and guidelines.  The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has also issued guidelines for workers.

Public Agencies or Private Establishments (Schools, day care centers, libraries, grocery stores, shopping malls, etc.)
If a person is experiencing Ebola like symptoms and states that they are at risk of exposure to Ebola due to travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea within the last three weeks or exposure to an Ebola patient, you should isolate the person, contact the local hospital and call 9-1-1 for transport.  The hospital should contact the local health officer immediately and treat the patient as described.

Ebola is not easily transmitted and the general public is not at risk.  There is no need to evacuate a facility, school, day care center, etc., if there is no direct contact with a person who is affected and has symptoms or the bodily fluids of an affected person.

Emergency Medical Personnel
Emergency Medical Personnel who come into contact with an Ebola patient or a patient at risk of Ebola, should take appropriate precautions following CDC guidelines which are currently under revision in treating and transport of the suspect patient and contact the local health officer.  The local emergency medical service (EMS) agency will work with the local health department to provide advice on the best place to take a suspect patient. Transportation and treatment equipment should be cleaned according to CDC protocols.  The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has also issued guidelines for workers.

Local Health Officers
The Local Health Officer is the main contact for reporting of suspect Ebola patients.  Local health officers will investigate, screen, order testing of specimens and report to the California Department of Public Health.

California Department of Public Health
CDPH will work with the CDC to arrange specimen testing, to investigate the case and monitor the situation.  CDPH will support the local health officers in tracing of individuals who may have had contact with an Ebola patient and continue to monitor the situation.

It is important to note that Ebola is not spread through casual contact and people who do not have symptoms are not contagious.  The virus has an incubation period of 2-21 days.

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in California and are currently no suspect cases.

For more information and frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Ebola visit the CDPH website.

Last modified on: 10/20/2014 3:21 PM