Texas creates infectious disease task force

Gov. Rick Perry announced the creation of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response on Monday. | The State of Texas

Dr. Brett P. Giroir will lead the newly created Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, which will assess the state's readiness level for response to pandemic diseases such as Ebola, Gov. Rick Perry announced on Monday.

The task force includes internationally-known experts in the field of epidemiology and infectious disease.

"Over the past several days we have learned a lot about the unique challenges of situations like this, and it's important that we continue to adapt our response to these realities," Perry said. "This task force will develop a comprehensive, long-term plan to ensure Texas deals effectively with any potential outbreak, building on our existing State Emergency Plan, and will cover all phases of preparedness and response."

Perry also requested enhanced screening at all points of entry in the U.S. – including getting additional information from travelers, checking body temperatures and staffing quarantine stations to keep Ebola and other diseases out of the country.

Members of the task force will give evidence-based assessments and suggest protocols and other recommendations regarding the current response to Ebola. They also will create a strategic emergency management plan for incident command teams at the state and local levels of government.

The task force will reinforce the state’s existing Emergency Management Plan for health and medical crises.

Members of the task force include Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner David Lakey, Vice President of Public Health Preparedness and Response at Texas A&M Health Science Center Gerald Parker, Director of the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases Tammy Beckham and other medical professionals.