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Johnson County receives $160,000 grant for Ebola preparedness

Today the Board of County Commissions voted to accept federal funding to support our Department of Health & Environment’s preparedness planning and readiness for responding to Ebola. The $160,153 grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will come to Johnson County through the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, and is targeted for public health capabilities at the local level including community preparedness efforts, responder health and safety and public information and warnings.

Last year, Ebola virus disease outbreaks occurred in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On Sept. 30, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first imported case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. in Dallas, Texas. At that time our Department of Health & Environment collaborated with jurisdictions on both sides of the state line to ensure preparedness. As of today, Johnson County’s Department of Health & Environment has conducted Ebola monitoring on 11 post-travel individuals.

“Any type of preparedness, disease investigation and response work helps Johnson County prepare for managing many different kinds of communicable disease outbreaks,” says Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health & Environment. “Operational readiness for one outbreak provides benefits to all of us for future incidents.”

Reviewing incidents once they are complete and sharing that information with other jurisdictions is another way to stay prepared. Tomorrow, public health risk communicators from the region (including Johnson County representatives) will present on their collaborative efforts during last year’s Ebola response to the Regional Association of Public Information Officers. Johnson County Government will live tweet from this event, so be sure you are following @jocogov on Twitter to get the latest information.