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Oct 13, 2014 2:15 PM

Governor, public health officials coordinate response to disease, virus threats

CONCORD -- Gov. Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire public health and emergency management officials are working with health care providers and local communities to ensure emergency preparedness for Ebola and Enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68).

In a statement released on Monday, Hassan said state public health officials have held several webinars with hospitals, emergency medical services and other health care providers, have produced training videos and remain in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and the state's health care providers.

On Friday, Governor Hassan opened a conference call regarding the State's readiness to prevent the spread of Ebola and EV-D68. The call was organized and hosted by the New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and included more than 230 state and local representatives, including police departments, fire departments, emergency medical services providers and town administrators.

"Ensuring that we are prepared to protect the health and safety of our citizens in the event of a public health emergency is one of state government's most important responsibilities, and it requires effective coordination between the state, local governments and health care providers," Maggie Hassan said. "Though the threat of an outbreak is low, we are well prepared to respond in the event of an instance of the disease, and state and local public health and emergency management officials will continue to communicate closely with health care providers in order to ensure effective response plans."

Public health and emergency management officials are closely monitoring for ebola and Enterovirus-D68, as well as communicating closely with health care providers, Hassan said, providing informational materials to hospitals, paramedics and other medical professionals about what to look for and how to appropriately respond to suspected cases.

DHHS is working with the healthcare community to ensure that they have proper procedures in place for handling potential patients and to provide guidance for labs on handling specimens and information on waste disposal. Public Health experts have also provided two webinars on Ebola and EV-D68 to the healthcare community.

"New Hampshire is well prepared to defend against the current threats of Ebola and Enterovirus D68," said Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, deputy state epidemiologist with DHHS. "The goal of the call was to inform state and local entities that the likelihood of an outbreak in New Hampshire is low and that simple preventive measures can further strengthen our position against the spread of these viruses. Additionally, we wanted to provide a forum so interested parties could pose questions directly to DHHS."

For more information, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov. To learn more about Ebola, visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/ebola.htm. To learn more about Enterovirus D68, visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/enterovirus-d68.htm. To learn more about HSEM, visit http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/hsem/.


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