Some hospitals not prepared for potential Ebola patients

August 19, 2014

As healthcare workers in West Africa battle against Ebola, some experts in the United States question whether American hospitals would be able to protect their employees and the public should the disease.

As healthcare workers in West Africa battle against Ebola, some experts in the United States question whether American hospitals would be able to protect their employees and the public should the disease spread. 

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Under the watchful eye of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is treating two American missionaries who were infected with the disease while in Liberia.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus. Ebola can be transmitted only through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of a symptomatic person or through exposure to objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated.

A recent Fox News opinion piece noted that the danger comes from someone who is unknowingly infected with Ebola travels to the United States and goes to an emergency room after he becomes symptomatic.

“Many hospitals are poorly prepared to contain any pathogen. That’s why at least 75,000 people a year die from hospital infections,” writes Betsy McCaughey, PhD, former Lt. Governor of New York. 

“Whether Americans die of Ebola will depend largely on what hospitals do when the first victims unknowingly carrying the virus are admitted,” says Dr. McCaughey.

The CDC recently issued a notice reminding U.S. healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and

“The CDC also needs to improve its own infection control rigor. In the last three months, three incidents of the CDC mishandling pathogens-anthrax, avian flu, and smallpox-have come to light. Why assume the agency’s ready for Ebola?” writes Dr. McCaughey.

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