Burr confident of NC's ability to handle potential Ebola outbreak
Posted October 5, 2014
Updated October 6, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Sen. Richard Burr on Sunday said that he is confident North Carolina has the resources to respond effectively to the Ebola virus, should there be a need.
But the Republican member of the state's congressional delegation told WRAL News that local emergency and public health offices across the state should take time now to review their planned responses to, not only Ebola, but other infectious diseases.
"North Carolina and every state in the country is more than equipped to handle any disease outbreak that we might have," Burr said. "It's a matter of reminding ourselves of exactly the procedures we've got to follow."
Wake County is doing just that.
The county's Board of Commissioners will receive an update at its 2 p.m. meeting Monday on the county's preparedness, should there be an Ebola outbreak in Wake County.
Sen. Kay Hagan, who was unavailable for an interview Sunday, said in a statement that, she believes "we must remain vigilant to prevent any potential spreading of the Ebola virus within our borders."
"Health care professionals should continue to be on high alert, and if additional cases are identified, appropriate follow-up steps must be taken swiftly, including contact tracing to monitor those individuals who may be at risk," Hagan said.
Burr also said Sunday that he believes the U.S. is far from an epidemic, echoing comments from the nation's top infectious diseases expert.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Public Health, appeared Sunday morning on CBS's "Face the Nation," saying scientists in the U.S. know how to stop the virus from spreading.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consulted with hospitals about more than 100 potentially suspicious cases in recent months. More than a dozen were worrisome enough to merit Ebola blood tests.
Only one patient in Dallas has been diagnosed.
Experts cite lack of experience with the disease, a shortage of medical supplies and personnel and widespread poverty as contributing factors to the spread of the disease in West Africa.
The virus that causes Ebola is not airborne and can be spread only through close contact with someone who has symptoms.
People have to come into direct contact with the patient's bodily fluids — blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen — and those fluids must have an entry point.