Ebola concerns in Tennessee prompt creation of hotline

Ebola concerns in Tennessee prompt creation of hotline

October 22nd, 2014 by Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts numerous filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically-infected VERO E6 cell (yellow-green).

This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicts numerous...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

POLL: Are you afraid Ebola could spread in the U.S?

The Tennessee Department of Health is creating a hotline and a special webpage to keep Tennesseans updated on Ebola-related issues in the state.

Tennesseans with questions about the disease can call 1-877-857-2945 toll-free to get "accurate, timely information" about Ebola starting today.

Meanwhile, information about the disease and summaries of weekly activites can be found at the state's new webpage on the virus, http://health.state.tn.us/Ceds/ebola.htm.

If an Ebola case is confirmed in Tennessee, the department will make a public announcement and post information to its main website, http://health.state.tn.us/.

While state health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner said he is glad for "increased awareness of this disease, he urged Tennesseans to "make sure our concerns are based on facts and not on rumors."

State Epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones stressed that people are not at risk for Ebola if they have not traveled to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone within the last 21 days, or if they have not been exposed to body fluids of a confirmed Ebola virus disease patient.

"This is not an airborne disease, so those most at risk are people who have been in contact with body fluids of a confirmed patient, especially healthcare workers, family members and friends," Jones said.

Meanwhile, state health officials said that as flu season approaches, more health care providers may be asking sick patients extra questions about symptoms and travel history. The best way Tennessseans can protect themselves and avoid unnecessary concern over non-Ebola virus, he said, is to get a flu shot.

Flu "can and does kill many every flu season," Dreyzehner said.