Ebola Response: 24/7 Protocol for Consulting with the Department of Public Health

When responding to an incident involving a person who may have Ebola, it is important to keep in mind that only people who are sick with Ebola can spread the infection to others and that transmission of Ebola is possible only if you have direct contact with blood or other body fluids from a person who is sick with Ebola.  Accordingly, if you are not providing emergency medical care or preparing the person for transport, the first rule for protecting yourself is to stay at least 6 feet away from the sick person while assessing the situation.

A first responder or other personnel on scene should contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800 if they want immediate assistance in assessing whether an individual meets the criteria for a suspect case of Ebola.  This number will connect the caller to the 24/7 Epi Line, and an epidemiologist will answer the call directly or call back within 10 minutes to assist with assessing the patient’s risk for Ebola.  If necessary, the epidemiologist will provide guidance on the use of personal protective equipment and other aspects of the patient’s care.

As always, MEMA’s 24/7 Communications Center serves as a resource to incident commanders and first responders if there is a need for support.  Requests for support in responding to, and managing incidents may be directed to MEMA’s Communications Center at 508-820-2000.  MEMA’s Communications Center also serves as a backup to the Department of Public Health if a first responder/incident commander has any difficulty reaching MDPH through the Epi Line or the MDPH Duty Officer. 

In summary, first responders or other personnel on scene can reach an MDPH epidemiologist at any time of the day or night by calling the following numbers:

•         Primary MDPH 24/7 Epi Line: 617-983-6800

•         MDPH Duty Officer: 617-339-8351

•         MEMA Dispatch: 508-820-2000

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