In the ED: Ebola Update — Maintain Vigilance

Submitted by Steven Gamburg, MD, FACEP, Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, MLH

 

As you know, the first Ebola patient was recently diagnosed in the U.S. 

 

Ironically, even though the patient volunteered information that he had traveled from West Africa, the man was initially sent home from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital ER after seeking care for symptoms consistent with the virus.

 

At Main Line Health ERs, we must remember to ask about travel history.

And we must maintain high alert to ensure proper recognition, treatment, and isolation.

 

CDC encourages all U.S. healthcare providers to ask patients about their travel histories to determine if they have traveled to West Africa within the last three weeks.

 

Know the symptoms of Ebola – fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness,

diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite, and in some cases bleeding.

 

Know what to do if you have a patient with Ebola symptoms:

  • First, properly isolate the patient.
  • Then, follow infection control precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of infected people.

 

The MLH Emergency Departments (EDs) have been alerted and educated to screen people for risk factors for Ebola.  If a patient screens positive for travel history and symptoms, the patient will be placed in a negative pressure room and caregivers will wear maximal personal protective equipment.  The appropriate county and state health departments will be called if a case of Ebola is admitted to one of our EDs.

Attached are several reminders about the process in treating this difficult disease. Please take the time to review:

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