OKLAHOMA CITY – The United States Department of Health and Human Services is checking Oklahoma hospitals’ readiness to accept Ebola patients.
According to State Representative Mike Ritze, HHS has recently contacted the Oklahoma Department of Health to inquire about the readiness of state hospitals to accept patients who may have the Ebola virus.
Ritze says New Mexico and several other states have also been contacted by HHS.
“This may just be a routine inquiry, but it strikes me as curious given the recent outbreak of Ebola cases in West Africa,” said Ritze. “At this point, there is no need to panic, but it would be helpful to get some accurate information from our state and federal health organizations so we know how severe the threat may be.”
The Oklahoma State Department of Health says they have no reason to believe patients infected with Ebola will be sent to Oklahoma.
The department was contacted by HHS to see if Oklahoma hospitals could potentially treat Oklahoma patients who had contracted the virus while in West Africa.
The department believes all 50 states received the same inquiry from HHS.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health says they are not aware of any Oklahomans infected with the Ebola virus.
Last month, two Americans infected with Ebola were flown to Atlanta for treatment at Emory University Hospital. They were given an experimental drug to fight the deadly disease and were later released from the hospital.
Another American doctor infected with Ebola arrived in Nebraska for treatment two weeks ago.
The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to virus types that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding.
Humans contract Ebola through contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals or the bodily fluids of infected humans.
No vaccine or medicine has been proved to cure the disease, but the first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine began two weeks ago.