Hospitals across the country are preparing for the possible admission of patients with Ebola. While North Carolina has not had a case of Ebola, UNC Health Care is prepared for the safe care of patients with these types of highly communicable diseases.
The safety of our patients and co-workers will remain, as always, our top priority.
A group of experts at UNC hospitals and the UNC School of Medicine is working to ensure that all appropriate individuals are trained and equipped to protect patients, guests, the community and each other if we do admit a patient with Ebola.
An inpatient location for Ebola care has been designated at UNC Hospitals if needed. This area has space for patient care, point-of-care laboratory testing, equipment storage and separate areas for donning and doffing personal protective equipment.
While Ebola is a serious illness, keep in mind that the disease has not spread through casual contact, air, water or food grown or legally purchased in the United States. The virus can be spread only via direct contact with bodily fluids, objects contaminated with the virus (e.g., needles, medical equipment) and infected animals (by contact with blood, fluids or infected meat). Ebola outbreaks have occurred primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa. Still, it’s important to take precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases including Ebola. As with any other infectious disease, washing your hands frequently is one of the best methods to protect yourself and others from contracting the infection.
Our Ebola Coordinating Group is chaired by Dr. David Weber, medical director of Hospital Epidemiology, and co-chaired by Dr. Billy Fischer, Assistant Professor of Medicine, who treated Ebola patients in West Africa this summer. We are working in close consultation with the State of North Carolina’s Division of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There is significant and understandable anxiety about this situation. Please rest assured that we have a comprehensive plan in place. We will continue to update our co-workers and the general public with relevant updates as they become available.
To learn more about our Ebola preparedness, click here.