Exercise Benefits / Facts
The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County undertook an initiative to design, conduct and evaluate an exercise entitled “Ebola Express – A Public Health COOP Exercise”.
This exercise served as an opportunity for the management and staff of the health department to assess its ability to maintain operations while meeting the health needs of county residents during a public health emergency.
During this exercise health department personnel worked together as a unified team to meet the numerous challenges associated with activating the department’s Continuity of Operations Plan.
On December 2, 173 members of the Modern Missionary Movement returned from a mission trip to the east African country of Ethiopia. The focus of the trip was to staff a small village health clinic and help construct an addition to the village’s school.
As trained healthcare workers, the missionaries took the normal precautions while working in the village’s health clinic.
Ethiopia is not considered an EVD-b affected country.
Upon returning to the United States, the missionary visited family members and friends, and returned to work and church.
Early in the evening nine, of the missionaries begin feeling ill with a low-grade fever, nausea and bloody diarrhea. They seek treatment at Emerald Coast Medical Center’s Emergency Department (ED).
The attending physician obtains the medical history from each missionary and learns that all have recently returned from Ethiopia. The doctor calls DOH-Okaloosa’s on-call epidemiologist to report an outbreak of unknown cause.
Since the nine missionaries arrived at the ED within several hours of one another, have similar symptoms and traveled together, DOH-Okaloosa – Epidemiologists (EPI) begin an investigation to rule out malaria, foodborne / waterborne illnesses and other potential causes.
The Ebola Express Tabletop Exercise was held in the morning of April 21, 2015, in Fort Walton Beach Florida.
This exercise is an example of the kind of exercises that comprise the nationwide Caduceus Shield Exercise Initiative. This initiative provides meaningful exercise opportunities for America’s health system.