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Wisconsin continues to prepare for Ebola

October 31, 2014

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that it is collaborating with three Wisconsin health systems to care for patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Ebola.

Even though Ebola has not been diagnosed in Wisconsin and the risk of contracting it remains very low, if a case of Ebola is confirmed, DHS will work with the medical team caring for the patient to transfer them to one of the following designated hospitals:

  • UW Health – University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison, and the American Family Children’s Hospital, Madison (for pediatric patients only).
  • Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin – Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee.
  • Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (for pediatric patients only).

“This is an important piece of the state’s overall coordinated strategy of Ebola preparedness. All health systems are continuing to prepare to identify, isolate, and provide initial care for any patients with Ebola. Because of the specialized care available at the designated hospitals, and because of their demonstrated preparedness, these designated health systems have agreed to be centers of excellence and will safely provide treatment for confirmed cases,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer. “We asked these organizations to volunteer because we feel they have plans in place that will increase the odds of recovery for patients diagnosed with the disease. These systems are prepared to safely treat these patients and prevent the spread of Ebola. We expect that additional systems may join this group.”

Ebola has not been diagnosed in Wisconsin, and the risk of Ebola remains very low. People can only get Ebola by direct contact with the body fluids of someone who has the disease and is showing symptoms of being ill. In the event that Ebola is diagnosed in Wisconsin, DHS will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to notify the public. The health systems that have volunteered to care for confirmed Ebola patients are able to safely do so without interrupting their normal patient care activities.

Individuals who are concerned about their own health risk should call their usual health care provider or call 1-844-684-1064, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is also information posted on the DHS website at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov. Patients will be transferred to designated hospitals only after approval from DHS. For more information about Ebola and Wisconsin’s preparedness efforts, visit: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/diseasepages/ebola.htm.