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Preparing for Ebola: Local medical facilities prepare protocols for handling potential cases

Although the United States' single confirmed case of Ebola is hundreds of miles away, the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control is calling on all U.S. health care facilities to be prepared for managing patients with an infectious disease such as Ebola, and Rockdale's local health care facilities are taking heed.

In a letter released Friday, the CDC recommends a number of policy and procedure measures that should be addressed in case a person infected with Ebola appears in that facility's medical care.

The Rockdale Medical Center has heeded the warning and is taking the necessary precautions.

In a press release, the Rockdale Medical Center states the hospital is engaged in coordinated ongoing preparedness, and protocols are in place to detect possible Ebola cases, protect employees and patients, and respond appropriately according to guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States was recently confirmed in a Texas man who flew in from Liberia Sept. 19 to visit family.

Anyone who came into contact with the Ebola patient and the man's apartment in Texas has been quarantined.

How do you get it?

The Ebola virus is a disease with flu-like symptoms that can be transmitted by coming into direct contact with the following:

• Body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola (blood, vomit, pee, poop, sweat, semen, spit, other fluids)
• Objects contaminated with the virus (needles, medical equipment)
• Infected animals (by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat)

It cannot and transmitted through the air. The virus has largely been detected in countries in Western Africa.