As fears of an Ebola outbreak rise, federal agencies are taking steps to protect and inform the public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is taking the lead on most aspects of the effort – issuing containment guidelines to hospitals and other health workers, training airport personnel on screening methods, and creating uniform lab tests to diagnose the deadly disease. But as in all public health emergencies, state and local public health departments are the nation’s first line of defense.
State and local health department workers are often first responders, communicating directly with residents and health care workers, as well as coordinating with related agencies and hospitals through established communication networks. They also manage public health laboratories that test for the v...
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