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Health official gives ebola update for first responders


A state health official says people on the front lines of dealing with a suspected Ebola case need to be clear on exactly which areas of Africa are experiencing the outbreak.

That was one of the main messages from Dr. Albert White in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday.

White is the Area Three Public Health Officer, which covers several west Alabama counties. He updated firefighters, emergency health care workers and other first responders on what the state and local hospitals are doing to prepare for the threat of Ebola.

White said if someone is exhibiting symptoms of Ebola, the first question should be if they or someone they’ve been around has traveled to an affected country in the past 21 days. If not, he said the person should be evaluated for some other health concern that may need immediate attention.

“I think that sometimes there’s a little bit of confusion and uncertainty about where those people are, that some people who have not come from the region, their care isbeing held up because we don’t have our information correct,” White said.

White said right now, the countries experiencing the Ebola outbreak are Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. White is a native of Liberia. He said he knows health care workers and other people who have died from the disease there. Therefore, he says he has special interest in the topic.

White also said the preparations health officials are taking for Ebola have other benefits.

“In a sense, I think the community and everybody will benefit from all the preparations, because again, there are lots of other diseases that are transmitted in similar fashion,” White said.

He added that health care in the United States is much better than what’s available in the areas experiencing the Ebola outbreak. He believes the best way to fight the spread of Ebola is to fight the outbreak in the countries where it is happening.


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