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Gov. Perry Calls for Enhanced Ebola Screenings, Announces Texas Task Force

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT
Gov. Rick Perry announced a team of experts who will make sure the state responds efficiently to cases of infectious diseases like Ebola on Oct. 6, 2014 at the State Capitol.

Gov. Rick Perry announced an executive order that will create a task force to handle the recent case of Ebola diagnosed in Dallas.

The 17-member Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response will enhance the state's readiness to handle pandemic disease, the governor’s office said in a press release. The head of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Dr. Brett P. Giroir will lead the task force.

“Over the past several days we have learned a lot about the unique challenges of situations like this,” Perry said. “And it’s important that we continue to adapt our responses to these realities.”

The task force will study and improve the state’s existing plans to combat disease, including the development of a long-term plan to make sure Texas can deal with a possible outbreak.

The governor also called for the federal government to enact “enhanced screening procedures” at airports and border crossings, which would include taking the temperatures of those who may be symptomatic and establishing “fully-staffed” quarantine stations to prevent contagions from entering this country.

Task force head Giroir reminded Texans that the Ebola virus can only be transmitted if an individual comes into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is exhibiting symptoms of Ebola, and that the disease can’t be transmitted through the air.

Giroir added that the task force will work on beefing up hospital readiness guidelines in light of the presence of Ebola in Texas, and increase lines of communications between schools, hospitals and first-responders.

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