Long Beach residents—contrary to rumors making the rounds on social media—can rest assured there are no cases of Ebola in our well-prepared city. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services has taken proactive steps to make sure that hospitals are ready if and when a case is confirmed; however, they say the likelihood of an outbreak happening here is very low.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a confirmed case of Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) in Texas. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (The Health Department) announced today that they would like to reassure residents that there are no suspected cases of Ebola in Long Beach.
"We do not anticipate an outbreak of Ebola to occur here, however if a suspected case of Ebola should occur, the Health Department is well-prepared and equipped to swiftly respond," said City of Long Beach Health Officer Mitchell Kushner, MD, MPH, in a statement. "The Health Department has been actively preparing for a possible case of Ebola in Long Beach. We are confident that the level of precaution required to protect against Ebola is well within the capabilities of hospitals in Long Beach."
The Health Department has taken proactive steps by providing information about Ebola, its diagnosis, and the management of suspected cases to health care providers and all hospitals throughout Long Beach. Last month, the Health Department met with healthcare partners from the five major hospitals in Long Beach to discuss Ebola preparedness and readiness.
In the event of a single case or even multiple cases of the illness, the Health Department and its hospital partners have the capability to identify and diagnose any suspected Ebola case, to isolate any patient with a confirmed diagnosis, to provide appropriate care with strict infection control, and to work with those who have had contact with the patient. Hospitals in Long Beach with the ability to provide a patient his or her own room and bathroom are able to isolate that patient and provide competent and complete medical care for Ebola.
"It is important to note that the risk of spreading Ebola is very low in the U.S. and in Long Beach. Ebola patients can only spread the disease when they have symptoms, and a person 'catches' this illness only when they have direct contact with an infected person's body fluids. Avoiding direct contact with the patient and his or her fluids protects others from infection," said Dr. Kushner in a statement.
The Health Department recommends that people should avoid unnecessary travel to countries in West Africa currently affected by the Ebola outbreak: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. If you have recently visited one of these countries and had contact with someone infected with Ebola, visit your doctor immediately to discuss your travel history. If you visited one of these countries, but did not come into contact with anyone infected, you should still monitor yourself closely. Take your temperature twice a day and if you get a fever or other symptoms within 21 days of your return to the U.S., visit your doctor to discuss your travel history.
The Health Department continues to monitor for any possible cases of Ebola and will continue to work with their partners and health care providers to protect health, prevent disease, and promote the health and well-being of all residents of Long Beach and its surrounding areas. For more information, visit the CDC webpage on Ebola.