NC Public Health and Emergency Management Officials Conducting Ebola Drill


Officials from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Department of Public Safety will be participating with federal, state and local officials in a multi-state Ebola virus disease  emergency preparedness exercise Nov. 4–8, 2019. 

Coordinated by DHHS’s Health Care Preparedness Program in the Division of Health Service Regulation, the exercise will focus on the movement of patients between hospitals when Ebola is a suspected or confirmed diagnosis. The drill will involve local hospitals and health care agencies across the state to simulate how public health, first responders and health care providers would respond if someone in North Carolina were to be diagnosed with Ebola virus disease. 

As part of the exercise, it is possible that members of the public might see health care workers moving around their communities in protective gear with ambulances, law enforcement activities and other Ebola-related response actions in counties across the state. 

“A drill is the best way for us to test emergency plans at all levels and make sure we are prepared,” said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist. “Together with our partners we want to do everything we can to keep North Carolinians safe from Ebola and other infectious disease threats.” 

Following the 2014–2016 Ebola virus disease outbreak, federal agencies provided special funding to ensure the nation’s health care system is ready to safely and successfully identify, manage and treat patients with Ebola or patients under investigation for Ebola. North Carolina has used these funds to collaboratively plan, train, equip and test the health care system and local public health partners on Ebola preparedness and response activities.

This is the first state-wide full-scale Ebola exercise in North Carolina. Other participants in the exercise are part of the Region IV (southeast) states which include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the Regional Ebola Treatment Center in Atlanta and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response Region IV Regional Emergency Coordinators.

Ebola virus disease is a rare and deadly disease caused by an infection with the Ebola virus or related viruses. Ebola is spread through unprotected contact with blood or body fluids from someone who is infected. Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 and since that time outbreaks have occurred in several African countries. The largest Ebola outbreak took place in West Africa in 2014–2016 and resulted in more than 28,600 cases and 11,300 deaths. Although there has been an ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo since August of 2018, the current risk to the U.S. and North Carolina is very low.  

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