What Ebola diagnosis could mean for western Massachusetts

Funeral homes would get help if Ebola causes other deaths


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States.

The first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States had returned from Liberia in late September. He is now in serious condition, isolated in an ICU in Dallas. Some people are worried the virus could spread, but hope it can be contained.

I’m just hoping that now that they’ve helped the other people who’ve had it, that we’ll be proactive in this area and be ahead of it,” Eileen Sousa of Holyoke said.

So how concerned should we be of Ebola spreading here to western Massachusetts?

Dr. Andrew Artenstein, Chair of Medicine at Baystate Health, told 22News, “I don’t think there’s a great risk. In fact, I think the risk is minimal in western Massachusetts. I think cases will be identified, if there are any, through travel history or exposure to travel. ”

Dr. Artenstein says that people should avoid traveling to Africa. Many infected bodies in Liberia have been collected in dirt lots or in the streets.

When funeral homes are dealing with potentially diseased bodies, they follow a rule of thumb, and that is: treat every body as if it’s a diseased body. If Ebola caused multiple deaths in the United States, one funeral director says the centers for disease control. would step in.

“They might have a separate place for us to put the bodies so they’re all contained,” said Jeffrey Belz, funeral director at Grisé Funeral Home in Chicopee. “They might say there is no viewing, so we might just have to cremate the bodies with the family’s permission.”

The CDC says they’re confident Ebola will be contained successfully in the United States because of the many resources we have.

If any bodies were infected, only trained personnel would handle them.

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