November 3, 2014
To: Personal care attendants/home care workers
From: Minnesota Department of Human Services
Subject: Ebola information
DHS is working closely with Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB), the Minnesota
Department of Health (MDH) and the Department of Public Safety on preparedness planning for
a possible case of the Ebola virus in our state. We are writing to you today to update you on this
No cases of Ebola have been found in Minnesota. Hospitals and other health care facilities are
required to report any potential cases of Ebola infection to MDH immediately so the case can be
assessed, and if necessary, testing conducted to determine whether the illness is caused by Ebola.
In addition, MDH recently announced a new active monitoring program for all travelers returning to
Minnesota from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea (the three countries dealing with
large-scale Ebola impacts). Under the program, MDH and local public health officials will
monitor these individuals for 21 days after their return from the three countries to detect any
signs of potential infection as quickly as possible. Rapidly detecting any infections in the earliest
stages when individuals are least infectious protects public health and allows for early medical
intervention for the ill person.
The Health Department has issued protective recommendations for those providing health care
services in homes:
• You do not need to avoid contact with someone simply because they have recently
traveled to a country where an Ebola outbreak is occurring.
• Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids. It is only spread when a
person is showing symptoms. Although there are no Ebola cases in Minnesota, it’s
always a good idea to avoid contact with another person’s blood. People who work in
health care settings or other occupations that may come into contact with blood or other
body fluids should be properly trained.
• If a person who recently traveled to West Africa develops symptoms of Ebola (including
fever) they should report it through the state’s monitoring system and call their health
care provider to inform them of their travel history. Their health care provider and health
officials will evaluate their risk for Ebola as well as other more common infections of
West Africa such as malaria and typhoid.
The state monitoring program is designed to identify any emerging Ebola cases in their earliest
stages before they become a risk to others. If an emerging Ebola case is detected by the
monitoring program, the individual would be immediately isolated and start treatment in a health
To present even a small risk to co-workers or customers, a person must have
(1) been in an area with active Ebola cases within the last 21 days,
(2) had direct contact with the blood or other body fluids with someone sick with Ebola AND
(3) must currently be experiencing symptoms such as headache, fever or vomiting.
Without a history of travel to an Ebola-affected area of Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, a person is not a risk to others.
Also, those who have traveled to an Ebola-affected area do not pass along the infection until they develop symptoms of the disease.
Typically, the first symptoms of Ebola include a sudden fever, sore throat, muscle pain, fatigue and weakness.
This typically is followed by vomiting, diarrhea and rash; kidney and liver problems; and in some cases, internal and external bleeding.
A person can start to show symptoms of the virus anywhere from two to 21 days after being infected.
People who are infected cannot infect others until they begin to show symptoms of the illness.
MDH has an abundance of information about Ebola on its website, including fact sheets,
frequently asked questions and information for health professionals.
Also as part of the ongoing effort to provide Minnesotans with information about Ebola and related precautions against the
disease, MDH has established an Ebola Information Line.
The number for the Ebola Information Line is 651-201-3920 or 800-657-3903.
The line will be staffed during regular business hours, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. MDH has made arrangements for a translation
service to help facilitate calls from those who do not speak English. The purpose of the information line is to provide an easy, reliable source of Ebola information to Minnesota