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Triangle hospitals prepared to treat infectious diseases

Posted August 5

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— On the off chance that a person with Ebola virus would be identified in the Triangle, local hospitals are prepared to treat someone with a highly infectious disease while protecting other patients and staff.   

"I think the Triangle is particularly well prepared," said Dr. Cameron Wolf, infectious disease specialist at Duke University Hospital. "We have the advantage of having a couple big university teaching hospitals an,d in fact, if you add WakeMed and Rex to that, really a network of good hospitals in the Triangle. 

Wolfe said Duke's infectious disease protocol would be the same for Ebola or another serious disease, and it is on the level of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol are being treated.

Hospitals treating infectious diseases capitalize on communication and isolation. Staff are informed. Those who come in contact with the patients would be gloved, masked and gowned, and patients would be kept in special rooms.

"The risk here in the United States is very, very low," Wolfe said.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa should not be a worry for average Americans, WRAL's Dr. Allen Mask said. 

He offered these tips for those who would plan overseas travel.

  • Consult with your doctor or your local health department about travel medicine issues.
  • Update your vaccinations.
  • Organize your personal medical records to bring with you on the trip.
  • If you have a special medical condition like allergies, wear a Medical Alert bracelet.

Anyone with fever or who has had recent travel to a area of infection concern should stay away from others and contact a doctor, Mask said.

19 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • sinenomine Aug 6, 1:49 p.m.

    I am well aware, RALEIGHBOY524, of how Ebola is transmitted. My point was simply this - hospitals are supposed to be well equipped to prevent the spread of everyday infectious organisms, however they are transmitted, but there is still an alarming rate of infection in hospitals nationwide. Some of this may be just plain old bad luck but some of it I have to believe is that hospitals are not following their own rules designed to prevent infection. If they don't follow existing rules maybe through laxness or unfamiliarity they won't pay attention to rules surrounding the possible transmission of diseases like Ebola either, and that is a concern - not a cause for panic, mind you, but concern nonetheless.

  • kikinc Aug 6, 11:35 a.m.

    I wish they would stop reporting on this. The majority of the population is clueless when it comes to Ebola, and the media only reports the sensational part of the story, which causes people to panic and freak out. I can't wait for this story to go away. This isn't the end of the world.

  • johnrmccray Aug 6, 11:33 a.m.

    Wow, at least one article cited (http://www.nature.com/srep /2012/121115/srep00811/full/srep00811.html) in which scientists said that mutations could develop from ebola strains that have infected swine allowing for airborne transmission openly state that the study did not attempt to determine the method of transmission.

    "The design and size of the animal cubicle did not allow to distinguish whether the transmission was by aerosol, small or large droplets in the air, or droplets created during floor cleaning which landed inside the NHP cages (fomites)."

  • raleighboy524 Aug 6, 11:29 a.m.

    Considering that American hospitals can't seem to prevent the spread of common infections from... View More

    — Posted by sinenomine

    Ebola is spread by contact with body fluids, not through the air. Isolation should be highly effective.

  • sinenomine Aug 6, 11:20 a.m.

    Considering that American hospitals can't seem to prevent the spread of common infections from patient to patient as is I have to take a dose or two of salt to believe that they could contain Ebola if it were to unexpectedly show up.

  • lewiskr45 Aug 6, 10:56 a.m.

    I worked in a military hospital..... EACH AND EVERY infectious disease or chemical weapons drill... View More

    — Posted by mep

    Sounds like military hospitals need some help. Luckily, UNC, Duke, WakeMed, and Rex are not military hospitals.

  • lewiskr45 Aug 6, 10:55 a.m.

    So Ebola mimics the flu until your internal organs shut down then your dead....and the NIH and... View More

    — Posted by I am not who you think I am

    Except, unlike the flu, ebola isn't transferred through the air.

  • johnrmccray Aug 6, 10:54 a.m.

    It is very possible that this is a stepping stone to martial law.

    **This comment has been... View More

    — Posted by Jim-Jones

    Could you conspiracy types please explain why exactly the government wants to impose martial law?

    — Posted by A cold, hard dose of Hans

    Because it fits their world view and supports their own suspicions.

  • raleighboy524 Aug 6, 10:52 a.m.

    So Ebola mimics the flu until your internal organs shut down then your dead....and the NIH and... View More

    — Posted by I am not who you think I am

    To save their lives and to further the development of viable treatments. Other than those, no substantial reasons.

  • torchhappysean Aug 6, 10:36 a.m.

    Why are they pumping this up so much?

    — Posted by A cold, hard dose of Hans

    Checkout the European media reports. They are starting to suspect that this particular strain is an airborne strain. If that turns out to be true then there is great cause to be alarmed because the symptoms don't show up for around three weeks after infection. Strange how the media here in the US doesn't tell us about that lil tidbit of information isn't it? Also the infected cases cover more countries in Africa than just the few listed.

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