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Ebola Preparedness in Boulder County

Although the risk of Ebola in Boulder County is very low, Boulder County Public Health and the medical and emergency community are preparing. There are no cases in Boulder County.

Until it is determined that the outbreak in West Africa is controlled, local agencies will continue monitoring for Ebola.

General Ebola Information

Planning with Local Partners

Fortunately, and intentionally, the Boulder County medical and public health community work together daily on disease investigations and outbreaks and has been planning and practicing our response to mass chemical, biological, and communicable disease events for more than 10 years. Boulder County Public Health continues to partner with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to prepare and respond in the event of a local communicable disease event, including Ebola.

Identification of Ebola at Hospitals, Urgent Cares, & Medical Clinics

All Boulder County hospitals have already put in place the “Ask, Isolate, Call” protocol to rapidly screen and isolate anyone who may have Ebola:

  • Ask all patients if they have travelled from West Africa (Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia) in the past 21 days AND/OR if they have been in contact with someone with Ebola
  • Isolate patients who have travelled from West Africa and have symptoms of Ebola, including fever, headache, joint or muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, and sometimes bleeding
  • Call the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment immediately at 303-692-2700 (303-370-9395 after hours)

Identification at Airports

All travelers from the affected countries (Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia) who arrive to the United States through JFK, Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare, or Atlanta airports are screened for symptoms of Ebola and potential exposure to someone with Ebola using CDC screening guidelines.

Travelers who have some or low risk of exposure and do not have symptoms may continue to travel to their destination. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is working closely with the CDC to identify these individuals. Boulder County Public Health will be informed of any individuals with risk of Ebola exposure arriving in Boulder County. They will be linked to follow-up and Boulder County Public Health will contact and actively monitoring each individual for 21 days after arrival to the United States.

Contact Tracing

The key to controlling the spread of communicable disease, including Ebola, lies in identifying and isolating individuals with the disease quickly, and then tracking those who have been in close contacts with them, and monitoring their health. In the event that an individual in Boulder County is suspected to have the Ebola virus, Boulder County Public Health will conduct a thorough investigation in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to:

  • Identify any person that may have come in contact with the ill person.
  • Interview each of them to assess their need for continued monitoring.
  • Collect twice daily reports of temperature and symptoms for 21 days (the incubation period) from any person determined to be at risk.
  • Link them to care immediately if they develop symptoms and to prevent further spread to the community.
  • Assess the need for restricting their movement (e.g. avoid public transportation or public settings) if they have been exposed.
  • Facilitate support (e.g. transportation, housing, food, mental health etc.) for those whose movement must be restricted to prevent spread of the illness.

Resources

For Health Care Providers

Health care providers who suspect that a patient may have been exposed to the Ebola virus should call CDPHE immediately at 303-692-2700 (303-370-9395 after hours). Although all Boulder County local hospitals are prepared to identify and care for patients who may have the Ebola virus, patients may be transported to a hospital designated to care for individuals in Colorado who may have been exposed to Ebola.

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