First responders prepare as six travelers from West Africa monitored for Ebola in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 29, 2014)– The Indiana Health Department says six travelers are being monitored after visiting Ebola-affected countries.

None of those travelers have shown any symptoms as of yet. Intense protective measures started being put in place when Ebola first showed up in the U.S. Now, local first responders know how to protect you if you do contract it.

“What you’re seeing is the highest level of protection that our providers will wear if they have direct contact with a patient we suspect has Ebola,” said Carl Rochelle with Indianapolis EMS as he pointed out the hazmat gear that EMTs would wear.

The suits include rubber boots, heavy gloves and a mask with a clean air system attached to the waist.

“This is for maximum skin protection,” Rochelle said. “We want as much coverage as possible to keep everything on the outside, outside and everything on the inside, inside.”

Indianapolis EMS also has what’s called “Medic Zero,” a reserve ambulance that has flame retardant and fluid-proof plastic along the walls and floors. It is dedicated for use with Ebola patients. Once that patient is brought to the hospital, the material is stripped, the ambulance is sterilized and re-wrapped.

Medic Zero
Medic Zero

“It’s to protect the ambulance so that we don’t cross contaminate,” Rochelle said.

There are Hoosiers who have traveled to countries struggling with the virus, either for work with a university or for humanitarian reasons. If any of them contract Ebola, first responders will be ready.

The six people being monitored after returning from Ebola-affected areas must take their temperatures, show the reading to officials and share any symptoms twice a day for 21 days.

“That is to make sure there is very prompt notification, as soon as possible, if any symptoms develop and the appropriate public health action can be taken as well as getting that person to medical care as quickly as possible,” said Pam Pontones, Indiana’s state epidemiologist.

While these Ebola preparations are important, doctors want to get across that the seasonal sicknesses are getting worse. The flu, for example, kills tens of thousands of people every year. Ebola has killed only one person in America.

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