The Camden County Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Safety are working to educate the public and prepare our first responders in the event a case of Ebola is reported in our area.
Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez wants Camden County residents to know that even though Ebola is a severe and often fatal disease, there are precautions you can take to protect your family. She says the most important thing to remember is to wash your hands.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing careful hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” said Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services. “Special care should be taken around syringes, medical equipment, clothing, bedding or other items that may have been contaminated with blood or body fluids.”
A person can contract the virus through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth if they come in direct contact with an infected person or their contaminated objects. The virus is carried in the blood and body fluids, which include feces, saliva, urine, vomit and semen.
“The virus that causes Ebola can spread quickly from person to person, but it can only be spread by direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola,” Rodriguez said. “The most common way Ebola is spread is by caring for someone that has the virus.”
Freeholder Scot McCray, liaison to the Camden County Department of Public Safety says the County has been in constant contact with state agencies, local hospitals and health care facilities since before the first case of Ebola was reported in this country. We know if someone is sick and calls 911 for an ambulance our EMTs and paramedics will be first on the scene.
"We have asked Cooper University Hospital to provide a training session so that first responders from across Camden County will be more knowledgeable about Ebola,” McCray said. “As we were reminded when the healthcare workers in Dallas contracted the virus, our first responders put themselves on the line for us every day. It is our responsibility to help them prepare and train.”
This training session will be held at Camden County College’s Civic Center on their Gloucester Township Campus from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Oct. 23. The training is free, but attendees must register with firstname.lastname@example.org on or before Oct. 22.
The state’s Public Health Infrastructure Laboratories and Emergency Preparedness (PHILEP) has established a reporting system for all health care providers in the event of a suspected case of Ebola in New Jersey. The Camden County Health Department is also part of PHILIP’s notification protocol.
The symptoms of Ebola include a fever greater than 101.5, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is eight to 10 days. If a person is concerned about any of these symptoms, they should contact their primary care physician.