Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Announces Hearing on Oct. 23 in Austin

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AUSTIN – The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response will hold its first hearing at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The hearing will focus on medical and public health preparedness for initial identification and isolation of patients with Ebola or similar high-consequence infectious diseases, a topic that is included in one of seven initial areas of focus identified by the Task Force.

The hearing will be held in the Texas State Capitol Auditorium located in room E1.004. Task Force members will hear invited testimony from witnesses representing professions and institutions involved in infectious disease identification and response.

Governor Perry issued an Executive Order on Oct. 6, 2014 creating the 15-member Task Force under the direction of Brett P. Giroir, M.D. and comprised of experts in infectious disease and public health, biodefense leaders, and state agency professionals across major areas, including health and human services, public safety, emergency management, transportation, environmental quality, and public education. The group is charged with development of recommendations and a comprehensive state plan to ensure that Texas is prepared for the potential of emerging infectious diseases, such as the Ebola virus, and can provide the rapid response needed to effectively protect the safety and well-being of citizens.

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The Task Force’s initial areas of focus include: hospital preparedness and the potential role of improved rapid diagnostics; command and control issues; organization and implementation of epidemiologic investigations and monitoring; decontamination and waste disposal; patient care issues; care of patients being monitored; and handling of domestic animals in contact with patients. The Task Force will submit initial draft assessments and recommendations by December 1, 2014 for consideration by the Office of the Governor and Texas Legislature.

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