TMC Infectious Disease Preparedness
All 21 hospitals on the Texas Medical Center campus are closely monitoring Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) communications and are collectively and individually prepared to follow CDC protocol, should an Ebola patient turn up in one of our hospitals. At this time, there are no patients within the medical center being treated for Ebola.
Since it was announced that now two health care workers in Dallas have been diagnosed, the CDC has been actively investigating the possible source of exposure. Their findings have led them to issue a number of “immediate improvements in processes and procedures” to “reduce risk to health care personnel.” The hospitals within the Texas Medical Center have been actively following these updates, and are aware of the protocol in place to protect hospital staff, patients and visitors.
Important facts to remember about Ebola:
Most of the population in West Africa doesn’t have Ebola. As of October 15, there have been more than 8,000 cases of Ebola diagnosed in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact. The Ebola virus can be found in blood and other bodily fluids – it is not transmitted like the flu or other airborne viruses. And it is spread only when symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea are present.
Patients with travel-related illnesses, including fever, may have a variety of possible diseases. Medical evaluation together with laboratory results ultimately determines a final diagnosis. Most patients who have a fever and have traveled recently are more likely to have malaria or another tropical disease, not Ebola.
Public health has asked healthcare providers to notify them of any patient who has a fever, symptoms similar to Ebola, and have traveled to West Africa in the last 21 days.
It’s important to remember that even if a person in our community is diagnosed with Ebola, the community at large would not be at risk. Local, state and national public health will continue to work with healthcare providers as needed to ensure that our system is working as effectively as possible. We have excellent systems to take care of patients as well as protect communities.
The CDC is the best source of information, not the media. The best way to allay any concerns is to educate yourself. The most current information about Ebola is available online from the CDC.
Media inquiries should be directed to TMCmedia@texasmedicalcenter.org.