2014 NFPA CONVENTION ATTENDEES - Ebola in the News in Dallas

We are sure you have heard, and want to address, the news about the first reported Ebola case in Dallas, Texas. Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHSS) and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital are following all CDC guidelines, and working closely together in conducting their public health follow-up on the Ebola patient and anyone who has come in contact with the patient.  People in Dallas County during this time are the number one health priority of the DCHHS and the CDC. Note that Ebola is much harder to contract than the flu.  The virus can be spread ONLY through the bodily fluids of people who have ACTIVE SYMPTOMS of the illness.  It is important to pay attention to medical facts and not media hype.

The hospital in which the patient is isolated and quarantined is over 7 miles from downtown Dallas, and there are no convention events being held near this location. The 12 family members that came in close contact with the patient are quarantined until at least October 19 with a police guard. Everyone else who may have had contact with the patient is being monitored, even if contact was ever so slight. Monitoring includes a check twice a day for any symptoms. If there were a health emergency at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel of any attendee, the attendee would be taken to the world renown Baylor Hospital, which is less than 2 miles away from the event.

In an effort to be proactive, NFPA and DAPA have contacted DCHSS, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Fairmont Dallas Hotel. The Dallas CVB has informed us that only two groups have inquired about the status of traveling to Dallas, and no group has canceled their meetings, which indicates people are paying attention to medical facts. We have been reassured by the Hotel service manager and director of security that no one at the hotel has come into contact with the Ebola patient, and that they are monitoring the situation. We will be providing hand sanitizer at the conference for your convenience. CDC additional safety precautions are listed below. 

Transmission

Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola has not yet been identified, the manner by which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, researchers believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal. When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways the virus can be spread to others. These include:

  • direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, urine, vomit and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • contact with objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of an infected person or with infected animals

The virus in the blood and body fluids can enter another person’s body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth. The viruses that cause Ebola are often spread among families and friends, because they come in close contact with blood or body fluids when caring for ill persons. Exposure to Ebola can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff are not wearing appropriate protective clothing including masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection.  This is not the case here in Dallas.

DO:
ALWAYS wash your hands with soap and water
Always cook your food properly
Go to a healthcare facility anytime you have head ache, fever, pain, diarrhea, red eyes rash and vomiting

DON'T:
Do not touch people with signs of Ebola or have died of Ebola
Do not touch clothes & bed cloths of people who have died of Ebola
Do not touch vomit, saliva, urine, blood and poo of people who have signs and symptoms of Ebola
Do not play with monkeys and baboons
Do not eat bush meat
Do not eat plums eaten by bats

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