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Virginia launches ebola hotline

"We want make sure have everyone can get access to [the answers]," Stoll says

The Virginia Department of Health recently launched an Ebola hotline to help answer concerned Virginians’ questions and provide the most up-to-date information available on the virus.

Virginia Health Commissioner Marissa Levine announced the establishment of the hotline on Oct. 21 in the Virginia Department of Health’s second update on the Ebola virus.

There have been no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in Virginia.

Michelle Stoll, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Risk Communication and Education, said the hotline is important because some Virginia residents do not have access to informational resources online.

“We know that people are very concerned and we want make sure ... everyone can get access to [the answers to] the questions that [they] may have,” Stoll said.

The hotline will serve to answer a wide range of inquiries from Virginians concerning the Ebola virus, from the basic nature of the disease to responses.

“[The hotline will cover] everything from ‘Are there cases in Virginia?’ to ‘What are the differences between isolation and quarantine?’ and any other variety of questions they may have,” Stoll said.

Stoll said the department would update the hotline regularly.

“As things change, as the CDC gives us more guidance, as we learn more and as we hear from the public, then we will update that information on the hotline as well as our social media outlets,” Stoll said.

Medical School Prof. William Petri, the University chief of the Department of Infectious Diseases and International Health, said Virginians should be more worried about influenza than about ebola.

“Getting the influenza shot would be be the most effective way to care for one’s health, which is being administered right now for the upcoming winter,” Petri said. “As far as Ebola in Virginia, it is good to be thoughtful about it, but I wouldn’t be too concerned. There is a lot [of] preparedness being down at the University and at the U.Va. Hospital which I find very reassuring.”

The Ebola hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.