Ebola concentration in West Africa
While the risk of exposure to Ebola is extremely low in Monterey County, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula would like to share information about the disease and about our preparedness to respond should it become necessary. For the latest information about Ebola, go online to www.cdc.gov, the web site of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is Community Hospital doing to prepare for treating someone with suspected or confirmed Ebola?
Established infection prevention and control guidelines have been used successfully for years to prevent the spread of Ebola. In September, as the cases of Ebola grew in West Africa, Community Hospital staff began reviewing those guidelines as well as our policies, procedures, and readiness. We have plans in place that follow CDC recommendations and guidelines and are working to ensure that staff is trained to respond and that necessary resources are available.
Everyone coming to the Emergency department for care speaks first with a registered nurse, whose preliminary evaluation includes asking about recent travel history and reason for needing emergency care. Anyone who has traveled to West Africa or been in contact with someone who has, will be put into an isolation room. At that point, the precautions described below will be taken until Ebola infection or exposure is confirmed or dismissed.
Under CDC guidelines for suspected and confirmed Ebola cases:
- Patients would be isolated in a single-patient room with a private bathroom, and an adjoining room where everyone preparing to enter would be logged in and checked for correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- We expect that CDC recommendations for PPE will be updated as our experience with Ebola grows, and we will update our requirements accordingly.
- Dedicated medical equipment, preferably disposable, would be used.
- All non-dedicated, non-disposable medical equipment used for patient care would be cleaned and disinfected or sterilized according to manufacturer's instructions and hospital policies.
What is Ebola?
Ebola, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare disease that is often fatal in humans and in animal primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). The disease was discovered near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
What are the symptoms of Ebola?
A person with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear. Typical symptoms include:
- Fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Stomach pain
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising (in some cases)
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but most commonly show up within 8 to 10 days.
How can I get Ebola?
Ebola is not spread through casual contact, water, the air, or food grown or legally purchased in the United States. It’s not spread the same way a cold or the flu is transmitted.
Ebola transmission requires direct contact with:
- Blood or body fluids such as urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and/or semen of a person who is sick or has died from Ebola
- Contaminated objects such as needles and other medical equipment
- Infected animals and their blood or body fluids, or infected meat
The virus enters the body through, for example, uncovered open wounds or by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with fluids from an infected person.
What is my risk of exposure to Ebola in Monterey County?
The risk of exposure to Ebola in Monterey County is very low. Ebola has been identified primarily in countries in West Africa. Two transmissions within the United States (both in Texas) were confirmed as of October 15, 2014. In those cases, two healthcare workers were infected while caring for a man who contracted the disease in West Africa.
How do I know if I have Ebola?
If you have a fever higher than 101.5°F and have recently traveled to West Africa or been in contact with a person sick with Ebola, call the nearest emergency department. Before being treated by a medical professional, tell them you may have Ebola so they can take appropriate precautions.
How is Ebola treated?
No vaccines or drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Ebola, but an experimental drug has shown some success. Basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival. They include providing intravenous (IV) fluids and balancing electrolytes (body salts); maintaining blood oxygen levels and blood pressure; and treating other infections if they occur.
Where can I find more information about the Ebola virus?
In addition to the CDC web site, you can find information at: