WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following reports that the second Dallas health care worker who tested positive for Ebola traveled to Northeast Ohio earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take action to monitor potential exposure in Northeast Ohio. A full copy of Brown’s letter to CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell can be found below.
“The CDC must dedicate immediate resources to organize monitoring services in Northeast Ohio,” Brown said. “This includes close coordination with Ohio health officials and medical facilities, tracking and monitoring of Ohioans who may have been in contact with the patient, and the readying and potential deployment of infection experts to Ohio.”
While the patient reportedly exhibited no signs or symptoms while on the flight, CDC is asking all 132 passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 to call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). The Ebola virus can only be spread through direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected individual, and cannot be spread through water, food, or transmitted through the air.
Brown and his office have been in contact with CDC and HHS. A full copy of Brown’s letter to CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell follows:
October 15, 2014
The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
Dear Secretary Burwell and Director Frieden:
Following today’s announcement that the most recent individual diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was in Northeast Ohio this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must work rapidly to address this situation both in Texas and Ohio.
I urge the CDC to respond quickly, and take clear steps to help track and eliminate any risk to Ohioans. These steps include:
1. Identifying and locating all persons the individual had contact with while in Northeast Ohio to track, monitor, and – if necessary – isolate anyone who shows any sign of symptoms;
2. Communicating with Frontier Airlines and the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) to locate any passengers that may have had contact with the individual, notify them, and work with their state and local public health agencies to ensure they are tracked and monitored for any potential symptoms;
3. Contacting the appropriate state and local public health officials in Ohio to ensure that they are informed about the latest protocols and educating all health care professionals so that they are aware of the most effective and up-to-date agency-approved protocol for personal monitoring and travel before, during, and after contact with an infected individual;
4. Partnering with the Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio Department of Health to ensure that all Ohio hospitals and health care facilities, particularly those in Northeast Ohio, are aware of the most up-to-date protocol for handling Ebola symptoms and have immediate access to state of the art protective equipment in the unlikely event that Ohioans show symptoms of the disease;
5. Ensuring that the Ohio Department of Health, health care professionals, and the general public are aware of the Ebola resources developed by the CDC;
6. Working with the Ohio Department of Health to conduct initial Ebola testing for any individuals who show symptoms of the disease, with swift follow-up confirmation testing done by the CDC; and
7. Keeping a team of infection experts ready to go to Ohio to help should a case occur.
I, and my congressional colleagues, stand ready to support your work protecting the public health.
United States Senator