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Ebola and the Threat of Disease

Ebola and the Threat of DiseaseFrom physicians to patients, concern about a possible pandemic was fairly remote until a few weeks ago when Terry Duncan became a headline and he tragically succumbed to Ebola after his care team was unable to restore him to health. Now, as Ebola has officially been transferred from patient to a healthcare worker, the first reported case in the US, the subject is on many people’s minds.

What is it that clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare centers need to keep in mind when it comes to the disease?

Ebola is Dangerous and Contagious but So is the Flu

It might not seem fair to compare Ebola to this season’s “flu,” but before a public outcry is emitted, or before too many panic about Ebola, consider that far more people are affected with and die from the flu every year than from Ebola.

In an October 14 article posted on, physicians and researchers comment on the likelihood of catching and dying from the flu in comparison to Ebola. With between 3,000-49,000 individuals contracting the flu every year, and the fact that the flu is airborne while Ebola is transferred through an open sore, wound, the eyes, nose or mouth of someone with clear symptoms, the flu is far more contagious and dangerous. The advice is still to get the flu shot.

To check out the full story on, click here.

In the Meantime What Should Healthcare Organizations be Doing about Ebola?

What clinics, hospitals and other healthcare centers need to keep in mind when it comes to the disease are

1) Following protocol in entering information into EHR systems

2) Reminding all members of the care team to ask patients about their travel history as well as their exposure to any others with flu-like symptoms

3) Following protocol when it comes to ED procedures as well as admission procedures

4) Follow protocol for quarantine

While Duncan’s care before succumbing to the disease and the recent healthcare worker who was diagnosed with Ebola are both still under investigation, healthcare centers around the country and around the world are watching to see what is learned from both cases and any others that unfold as a result.

Most recently, Dr. Snyderman, NBC News medical advisor violated quarantine protocol and has apologized for the misstep. To read that story, click to read the October 13th story Ebola Quarantine Mandatory.

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