The Hawaii State Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division said Thursday that it can now test for the Ebola virus.

“With the nation on heightened alert for possible Ebola cases, having laboratory capabilities in Hawaii allows us to have earlier results and timely support for our local disease investigations. Following national guidance, our test results for Ebola will still require final confirmation by the CDC,” Health Director Linda Rosen said in a press advisory.

Rosen added, “Our state is so fortunate to have a public health laboratory with a talented and flexible workforce that can respond quickly to community needs.” 

Reporting a potential Ebola case to the DOH is required before testing is considered, and the department will determine if it’s warranted. Doctors are also reminded to follow the guidelines established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Preventing the spread of the Ebola Virus

Simple precautions can break the cycle of transmission of the Ebola virus, which has spread to three nations in West Africa.

European Commission DG ECHO

While Ebola has caused thousands of deaths in three West African nations, there has been only one death in the United States. Several patients have been quarantined, however.

DOH says that it continues to work with the healthcare community, state, county and federal officials to prepare for a possible Ebola case.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who worked with the CDC to allow Hawaii to test for Ebola, said in a statement, “Ensuring our medical professionals are given the tools they need to protect themselves, and to serve the public at large, is of the greatest importance, and I’m glad to see that we were able to bring this testing capability to our islands.”

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