It may be inevitable that someone from Illinois will become infected with the Ebola virus, but the state health director stressed Wednesday that Illinois is prepared for that possibility.
In a news release, the Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said Ebola does not pose a great health risk to the people of Illinois at this time, as there have not been any reports of a person testing positive for this disease in Illinois.
“If there is a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola in Illinois, we will immediately inform the public and provide as much information as possible,” Hasbrouck said.
And even if that were to be the case, he highlighted a series of precautions Illinois has in place to prevent the spread of the virus. IDPH has issued guidance to health care facilities and medical professionals on how to evaluate patients suspected of having the virus, implement infection control measures and be ready to submit specimens from possible cases for laboratory testing.
There was a scare earlier this week at O’Hare Airport when a passenger fell ill on a United Airlines flight. Hazmat was sent to the airport in case the passenger might have been infected with Ebola, but it was found not to be Ebola.
The U.S. government has said it would increase passenger screenings in the United States and Africa to detect the Ebola virus, but did not impose a ban on the three African countries most affected by the outbreak.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, has died, the hospital reported.