Public Health Commissioner says Ky. must remain vigilant about E - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Public Health Commissioner says Ky. must remain vigilant about Ebola

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky's top public health official says the state remains at low risk for Ebola, but she also told legislators the commonwealth cannot afford to let its guard down.

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield told the Health and Welfare Committee in Frankfort that Kentucky is as ready as it can be; considering that Ebola is a disease the state has never had to deal with.

"There have been some sporadic outbreaks, but this is largest that we've ever seen," said Mayfield.

Mayfield gave lawmakers the cold, hard numbers.

There have been more than 14,413 Ebola cases worldwide, and 5,178 deaths.

There have been 5 cases in The United States. Two have died.

There are no current Ebola cases in the U.S., and there have been none in Kentucky.

Mayfield says procedures are in place to try and keep it that way.

"We have been statewide calls with all clinical providers across the state, readying them for a patient because we never know where the entry point could be," Mayfield told lawmakers.

Mayfield says health providers across the state now have Ebola screening guidelines, but told WDRB nothing is perfect.

"Are we 100% ready for something we've never seen in our state before? We are certainly trying to get there but as long as we don't get too comfortable, we remain vigilant, and we should be OK," she said.

Mayfield says there is no danger to or from the Kentucky Air National Guard troops returning from west Africa because they were not in the danger zone.

"Those that are working on missions that are in west Africa but not in the affected areas, oh yes, they can come right back home because they're not in an area where there's transmission of the virus," said Mayfield.

The chairman of the Health and Safety committee, Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville) says he's satisfied with what he's heard.

"I intend to have more hearings on this to make sure we keep the public informed, but it sounds to me like they're doing everything they possibly can right now to protect our citizens," he said.

As one senator put it, we need to be ready for Ebola, but many more Kentuckians are in danger of dying from health crises such as the heroin epidemic.

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