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Officials: It’s unlikely that Ebola virus will spread to Ohio

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of the Ebola virus in the United States Tuesday in Texas, but health officials said the virus is unlikely to make it to Columbus

The chances of the Ebola virus spreading to Ohio are low, said Dr. Christina Liscynesky, an assistant professor in the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Department of Internal Medicine’s division of infectious diseases.

“Very, very low. The way to mitigate the Ebola spread is to put the patient in isolation and those they have been in contact with in isolation. So the CDC is sending a team to Texas to do those things. We have very many resources in the United States to handle these things,” Liscynesky said.

The man, Thomas E. Duncan,  had come to the U.S. from Liberia on Sept. 20. He is in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

The EMS crew that transported Duncan to the hospital has also been isolated, according to the Dallas mayor’s office.

According the CDC website, Ebola can only be spread from contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person or animal who is infected with or has died from Ebola.

As of Sept. 23, there were 6,574 total confirmed cases of Ebola. The total death count was 3,091, according to the CDC website.

If the virus were to spread to Columbus, the university stands ready, an OSU spokeswoman said.

We have participated in multiple conference calls and meetings with leaders at other hospitals in the Central Ohio region about preparedness efforts,” OSU spokeswoman Liz Cook said in an email.

Cook said OSU has developed tools to familiarize its staff with Ebola and with a screening tool to determine whether Medical Center patients have the virus based on their travel and exposure history and their current symptoms. Part of the protocol, she said, is working with partners from the Wexner Medical Center, College of Public Health, Student Health Services and university leadership to develop solutions.

Some students said they’re not concerned about the virus spreading to Columbus.

Jeff Robbins, a third-year in forest, fisheries and wildlife, did not believe the virus would make it to the U.S. when interviewed by The Lantern in August. On Tuesday, he said he is more fearful, but still does not believe the virus will make its way to Ohio.

Kelsey Houser, a third-year in business whom The Lantern also interviewed in August, agreed that she’s not afraid Ebola will make its way to Ohio.

“It is a far move from Dallas, and I think we have pretty good control of our health care system,” Houser said.

Even so, Cook said OSU experts are remaining alert.

“Our goal is to remain at a high level of preparedness to reduce the risk of exposure as well as rapidly implement protocols for providing care in our medical facilities or respond to public health concerns across campus,” she said.

5 comments

  1. Don't Let Up Lantern

    Surely a “global university” like OSU has a frequency of West African citizens/travelers/tourists/scientists/guest lecturers coming onto the OSU campus in any given time period.

  2. Given our #2 Samali population in the country there will be people traveling just like in Texas.
    “It is a far move from Dallas, and I think we have pretty good control of our health care system,” Houser said.
    –have you seen what the wexner medical center ED looks like every night? Overcrowded waiting room with 6+hour wait list. Just like in Texas, that possible ebola patient will be sitting there for hours.
    –In US there isn’t good preventative measures for comunicable diseases. Mainly because there is lack of access to healthcare to millions of people. Rather it claims it is good at treating them in intensive care units ones they are very sick. There is rarely any isolation that is done in other countries (e.g. isolating classroom students from other students if a child in that class is sick).
    –Look at the medical center currently, there is no sense of urgency, things are business as usual.

  3. I am profoundly disturbed that anyone with any sort of medical or biological background tries to calm the surface tension of a viral agent that does not discriminate and cannot be properly isolated/contained and controlled.

    Are they daft at the fact that if it were so simple to control and contained, we would not have any new cases.

    Get real, stop fluffing the facts with illegitimate jargon

  4. I can not believe we r even alowing flights from or to these countries come on now this will kill people we need to stop people from comen an going I have kids an im scared to def if thier not worried about it as a voter I should have the right to say stop the flights I dont care my kids won’t b going to school an we r stocked up on grocery s rather they aren’t worried I am an several other people in my Galloway community is as well smh our government system should take a stand an take this more serious I bet they have way to protect thier family an friends smh I live arround alot of people from these countries an im scared to even leave my home my kids wanna go outside an im to scared to alow them smh I should not have to live in fear lik this

  5. Will, guess what, It did.

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