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Maribeth Brewster, Virginia Department of Health
Public health professionals will support disease intervention efforts.
(Richmond, Va.) Health specialists from Virginia are on their way to Indiana today, lending their expertise to that state’s HIV outbreak response. The two are disease intervention specialists from the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology, Division of Disease Prevention, who work in Richmond and Norfolk. The specialists will work for two weeks, assisting the Indiana State Department of Health to contain the spread of HIV in southeastern Indiana (http://www.in.gov/isdh/26649.htm). Specifically, the pair will provide public health assessments, including interviewing individuals and collecting their blood or other samples for laboratory testing for HIV.
“The need in Indiana is great and we know this gesture of good will and cooperation will be reciprocated should Virginia ever need assistance,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. Virginia and Indiana are members of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which enables member states to request emergency assistance from each other. “Virginia is pleased to be able to respond to Indiana’s call for help with its outbreak response.”
Virginia has a history of reaching out to those in need and has sent volunteers to aid in many response and recovery efforts, including to Florida following Hurricanes Charley and Frances in 2004, and to Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas following Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Sandy (2012).
“The Virginia Department of Health is always willing to answer the call for volunteers and, as much as we can help, to lend our employees and their skills where they’re needed,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa J. Levine. “Our disease intervention specialists were invited due to their specific expertise and they will gain excellent outbreak experience, which they will bring back to Virginia to enhance our disease outbreak response services to the people of the Commonwealth.”