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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EBOLA CONTACT TRACING IS CORE PUBLIC HEALTH WORK


Although our fragmented public health system still needs some significant repairs, the response has been on target since the diagnosis of Thomas Duncan of Dallas as the nation’s first Ebola patient. As of 11 am today, public health physicians had confirmed 10 persons definitely had been exposed to Ebola through Mr. Duncan, and 38 possibly had been exposed. All 48 of those people are being monitored daily throughout the 21-day incubation period of Ebola. “Our function here is to monitor every contact and every possible contact,” Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey, MD, said in a briefing yesterday afternoon. “The good news is that we have had no more cases, and no one has reported any symptoms.” I am particularly proud of Dallas County Medical Society physicians in working with state and national public health officials to contain this outbreak. Public health specialists John Carlo, MD, and Robert Haley, MD, have done an outstanding job explaining this frightful disease to the public through the news media. On Friday, TMA, Dr. Lakey’s office, and the Texas Hospital Association (THA) conducted an Ebola briefing for legislative staffers at the state Capitol. TMA will send a special issue of our Action newsletter later today with a comprehensive list of resources physicians need to talk to their patients about Ebola and assess possible cases.

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