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September 30 Update

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09.30.2014

A few hours ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the confirmation of the first U.S. diagnosed case of Ebola in Dallas. The patient had recently traveled to the U.S. from West Africa. While not unexpected, it reinforces the importance of preparation and good practices in all healthcare environments.

The purpose of this message is to provide information to all the members of our community -- clinicians and non-clinicians alike-- about the outbreak and the steps we each can take to keep ourselves, our families and our patients safe.

General Ebola Facts:

  • Ebola is a disease that initially causes non-specific symptoms like fever, chills, muscle ache, loss of strength and fatigue. As the disease progresses patients develop high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Ebola can only be transmitted through direct contact with blood or body fluids (urine, fecal material, sputum or spit) of an individual who is SICK with the disease: individuals without symptoms cannot transmit the disease.
  • The best way to prevent exposure to Ebola is to avoid coming in contact with blood and body fluids. For clinicians protection is provided through standard blood and body fluid precautions which include
    • Wear gloves and gown when caring for patients with active bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea or urinary incontinence. Do the same when cleaning/disinfecting the ambulance or equipment after a patient encounter.
    • To prevent exposure from blood splash (copious bleeding) or sputum (when performing procedures that make patients cough) wear eye protection and a mask
    • In addition, always wash your hands before and after every patient encounter using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner..

 

Our Commitment

Tonight, we are beginning a regular communication to keep you informed and up to date on the current Ebola situation and how it may impact you and our organization. AMR and Evolution Health leaders have been monitoring this issue for the past several weeks and have developed resources, training materials and a 24-hour response center. We want to ensure everyone that we are watching this situation closely and working with the CDC and local health partners to make sure our teams and patients are safe.

What to expect in the next 24 hours:

  • Specific guidelines, based on CDC recommendations, for questions care providers should ask patients to identify those who are potential Ebola cases, information on how to care for these patients safely and information to convey to facilities or caregivers who will be receiving the patient.
  • A single resource Envision Healthcare hotline to call if you are requested to care for or transport a suspected or confirmed Ebola patient, or have time-sensitive questions related to a potential exposure.
  • A single website that will have ALL AMR/EvHealth resources related to Ebola including links to key CDC and World Health Organization documents.
  • Resources for AMR operations that need to prep an ambulance for transport of an Ebola patient.

 

Please reinforce among our community that protection is simple: handwashing before and after each patient contact and stringent blood and body fluid precautions.

Remember that we are well prepared to manage patients in these circumstances. The principles of public health remain sound and effective. It’s our collective job to use them. If you need additional information, please contact Scott Bourn at Scott.Bourn@amr.net or Ed Racht at Ed.Racht@evhc.net.

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