Health Team

Triangle hospitals prepared to treat infectious diseases

Posted August 5, 2014 6:48 p.m. EDT
Updated August 5, 2014 7:13 p.m. EDT

— 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.