Local News

Steuben County Dispatch Adds Ebola Procedures

ANGOLA, Ind. (WOWO): Emergency calls in one northeast Indiana county will include procedures to screen for potential Ebola cases.

Steuben County leaders say dispatchers will ask questions about recent travel, fever symptoms and other conditions including unexplained bleeding, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

First responders will then respond according to to CDC precautions.

Officials say they may update the screening. They add responders will be sent in “any and all cases.” The dispatchers will question callers while crews are en route.

Here's the full press release:

With the recent increase in confirmed Ebola cases both internationally and now within the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking state and local health providers and responders to help minimize its spread and protect the public.

Working in conjunction with the Steuben County Health Department, Steuben County EMS and Steuben County Emergency Management, the Steuben County 911 Communication Center has implemented new procedures when taking medical calls.

Communication center staff already provides pre-arrival questioning and instruction for medical calls.

Now, callers or third-party callers reporting any of the following will be asked additional questions: flu or flu-like symptoms, illness or unspecified ailments and any other condition(s) that may indicate a possible virus or sign(s) of infection or undiagnosed disease.

Communications telecommunicators will be asking these additional questions if the above are presented:

 Have they resided/traveled in or traveled to a country where an Ebola outbreak is?
 Have they, or someone with the patient had or have a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater?
 Do they have additional symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or unexplained bleeding?

 Have they had direct handling of bats or nonhuman primates from disease-endemic areas?

Information obtained by the communication center will not be broadcast to responders over the radio  per policy.First responders will take necessary precautions as defined by CDC and local health agency guidelines.

As the circumstances of this outbreak are dynamic, the questions or indicators may be updated as needed based on local and state recommendations. Callers are asked to understand these procedures are necessary, and that responders will be sent in any and all cases, even while still being questioned by the telecommunicators, as their partner will typically be dispatching them in the background.

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