Michigan prepared to respond to Ebola

Posted at 3:43 PM, Oct 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 18:48:37-04

MICHIGAN - The state's chief medical executive says that while chances of an Ebola outbreak are slim, health officials in Michigan are prepared to fight back, if necessary.

"We are alert and vigilant and prepared for the possibility of a case presenting at one of our Michigan hospitals," said Dr. Matthew Davis.

Davis says that's largely because of the high quality of medical care in the U.S., in addition to to way in which Ebola is spread.

"It is very difficult to transmit Ebola from person to person," said Davis "The only way to spread Ebola, first of all, is if the person has symptoms and, second of all, if a person has symptoms and has direct contact through bodily fluids of another person."

In addition to his role with the state, Davis is also a primary care physician with the University of Michigan Health System.

He says the state is in constant communication with health care facilities across Michigan using the Syndromic Surveillance System.

"The Michigan Department of Community Health works in partnership with over 90 hospitals statewide to keep track of the symptoms people have when they're coming for emergency care," Davis said. "We're able to know at the state level whether there are particular patterns of individuals with specific types of symptoms."

Davis says MDCH has also taken steps to remind health care workers about how to identify symptoms of Ebola and take proper precaution.

"The appropriate way to respond to a patient when we're concerned about Ebola is as a health care worker to put on what's called personal protective equipment, or PPE." Davis explained. "That is more equipment than we would use in a conventional patient-doctor visit here in the United States on a routine basis."