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Health systems, infectious disease specialists prepare West Virginia hospitals for potential disease outbreaks

By Daisy Gibbons, The Exponent Telegram

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As emerging unforeseen viruses threaten public health, specialists and information networks in hospitals throughout West Virginia are ensuring that staff and health departments are up-to-date and prepared when outbreaks do occur.

Dr. Michael Stevens, system health care epidemiologist and associate chief quality officer for infection prevention with the West Virginia University Health System, works with other specialists to identify potential disease threats before they become major issues.

“We look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, international trends and state-specific guidance,” he said. “We partner very closely with Department of Health and Human Resources colleagues both at the local and state departments.”

Stevens is a member of the Society for Health Care Epidemiology of America, a network of experts nationally and internationally who share information in real time.

“Oftentimes, these things are happening first in New York City,” Stevens said. “I know folks there, and we learn on the ground about what they are seeing and what seems to be working in terms of risk mitigation weeks, if not a month, in advance.”

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