Region responding correctly to Ebola outbreak

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

Two nurses one state over in Texas have tested positive for Ebola, causing local governments in the River Region to respond and communicate with area residents.

This is necessary because officials say there aren’t any FDA-approved medicines or vaccines in place for Ebola treatment.

Experimental measurements are under development, but their effectiveness is not proven.

St. John the Baptist Parish officials say they are working closely with the Department of Health and Hospitals and Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to monitor potential outbreaks in the state.

Parish EMS, first responders and the 911 center have implemented a comprehensive infection control plan directed by DHH, according to St. John leaders, to ensure proper dispatch and response, if a case is suspected locally.

River Parishes Hospital and the St. John Parish School System are also taking protective measures and remain in communication with public safety officials.

Ebola is not foodborne, waterborne or airborne and is most often found in those who have traveled from or to an Ebola-infected country — the most recent cases linked to West Africa.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood, vomit and sweat of an infected person or infectious wild animal.

Symptoms are flu-like and include fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting blood and mental confusion. Proper disinfection techniques like washing hands with soap and water serve as preventive measures.

Fact sheets, details and resources on Ebola can be viewed at the St. John and St. James parish websites.

Additional information is available in St. John at parish libraries, the Council on Aging Buildings, the Health Unit, Percy Hebert Building and Edgard Courthouse. Further information can be found on the Center for Disease Control website, at

To report a suspected case, contact the Louisiana Office of Public Health immediately at 504-568-8313 or call 800-256-2748 after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends.