Department of Health recommends signage to assess travel history

October 28th, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (October 28, 2014). – Visitors to schools and other facilities are being asked to report any travel outside the United States to front office staff as part of ongoing efforts to minimize the public health risks from the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. 

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health has recommended that signs to that effect be posted in places throughout the community, including schools. If anyone has traveled to Ebola-affected regions, it would help health officials assess the risk and the need for any public health interventions. 

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan emphasized that there are currently no cases in our county and the likelihood of that occurring remains low. But the Department of Health has been working with its community partners, including hospital and healthcare providers, public safety agencies and city/county school systems to ensure a coordinated plan to respond to this emerging disease threat. This recommendation is part of that ongoing effort. 

Ebola is not spread by air or casual contact and people are not contagious unless they are displaying symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, abdominal pain or vomiting. All healthcare providers, first responders and school clinicians have been provided guidelines on to how to safely and effectively isolate someone who is sick or may be sick with Ebola and who to contact for testing. 

To report a suspected case of Ebola, please contact the Department of Health immediately at (260) 449-7561 or after hours at (260) 449-7661. The Indiana State Department of Health also has a call center for general questions related to Ebola; the number is (877) 826-0011 and it operates Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. 

Residents are also reminded to practice good prevention measures such as getting an annual flu shot, washing their hands regularly and staying home from work or school if they are sick. 

About Ebola

Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. It was first discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, there have been sporadic outbreaks in Africa. The current outbreak in multiple countries in West Africa is the largest in history. Ebola is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated.  Ebola is not transmitted through the air, water or, in general, by food; however, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can occur two to 21 days after exposure. Symptoms may include fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal (stomach) pain, and unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising). There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola.

Ebola Travel Screening Sign

Ebola Travel Screening Sign (Spanish)

Ebola Travel Screening Sign (Burmese)

Contact: John Silcox, (260) 449-7395, john.silcox@allencounty.us