Pima County doctors join statewide team for infectious diseases - Tucson News Now

Pima County doctors join statewide team for infectious diseases

PIMA COUNTY, AZ ( Tucson News Now) -

Two doctors from Pima County will join other medical experts, first responders and health professionals on a statewide team to form a statewide plan for infectious diseases.

Doctor Francisco Garcia from the Pima County Health Department and Dr. Sean Elliot with University Medical Center were appointed to Governor Jan Brewer's newly formed Council on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response. In a statement Tuesday, Brewer said health and safety of Arizona citizens is her top priority.

“In light of the recent emergence of highly-infectious diseases – and the growing worldwide attention surrounding Ebola – it is imperative that we take every practical measure to ensure that, if a case does arise in Arizona, we are well-equipped to address, control and ultimately eliminate its occurrence,” read the statement in part.

Elliot said Tuesday night that local hospitals have been preparing for cases of Ebola and Enterovirus on an individual basis, but now they can work together for a universal response with the help of a statewide plan.

“To have this level of communication, this level of cooperation is huge,” he said. “It would have been too soon to do this two weeks ago, we weren't ready yet. Today is perfect."

There is more to the council than the topical troubles, according to Elliot. He said the statewide response will include measures for more common infectious diseases. Influenza is always a concern, and will continue to be after hot topics like Ebola and Enterovirus are fading from memory.

“Influenza season is right around the corner,” said Elliot. “Our job, while looking for the hot stuff, is to remain prepared for the normal stuff, which happens and is far more dangerous than the hot stuff.”

Elliot, specializing in pediatric infectious disease, stressed the importance of flu shots.

The two doctors are familiar with statewide councils like this. Elliot said the two served on a similar team to form an action plan for H1N1 a few years ago.

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