BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — Hospitals say they are ready should they be faced with a case of Ebola. WIAT 42 News spoke with one emergency room doctor Wednesday who believes the likelihood of an outbreak here in the United States is unlikely.
From the quality of medical care to access to medical care to the ability to quickly quarantine infectious diseases, there are a lot of reasons the likelihood of an Ebola outbreak here in the U.S. is so small. But if someone exhibiting Ebola like symptoms did walk into UAB Hospital, doctors say they would be ready.
Emergency rooms are always busy but with Ebola fears on everyone’s mind, the ER staff at UAB is ever vigilant.
“Our nurses are trained here at UAB that if you arrive and you say that you have a fever, the next question you ask is are you or have you been exposed to someone with Ebola or have you been in an area that could have potentially exposed you to Ebola,” says Dr. Scott Irvine.
Typical Ebola symptoms are fever, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding but unless you’ve been to West Africa you most likely haven’t been exposed.
“The virus lives, whether its in blood or a mucus, when you throw up or tears or something like that, where you actually directly contact the body fluid that contains the virus,” says Irvine. “Just casually touching a doorknob or sitting next to a person on a plane or on a train or a bus, those things aren’t the typical way Ebola is spread.”
Remember the person who exposed you had to have been actively showing symptoms to be contagious. And it could take up to twenty one days for you to show signs. But if you think you have Ebola, doctors say get medial attention immediately at a facility like UAB.
“You are immediately isolated and put into an area that would protect yourself and also protect staff and other patients,” says Irvine.