Q&A about Anna Jaques' Preparedness for Ebola
Q. What is AJH doing to prepare for the possibility of someone coming to the hospital or a physician’s office with symptoms of Ebola?
A. Since the recent confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in the United States, Anna Jaques Hospital has been working diligently to ensure our staff have the training and equipment needed to protect the health and safety of all involved if a patient comes to the hospital with symptoms of Ebola.
A team made up of leadership representatives from many areas such as Nursing, Medical Staff, Emergency Management Committee, Infection Control, and Housekeeping have met several times and participated in conference calls with both the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC). Using their guidelines and recommendations, the Emergency Department has an Emergency Preparedness Plan in place to handle infectious outbreak which includes the screening process and all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of our patients, families and staff. Guidance has also been provided to every physician on our medical staff. We will continue to monitor recommendations from the MDPH and the CDC and update the plan accordingly.
As an added precaution, AJH is screening all emergency department and maternity patients and those scheduling appointments through Patient Access, by asking about any recent travel to/from Africa and, if appropriate, about any Ebola-like symptoms.
The likelihood of a patient with Ebola coming to Anna Jaques is low but we remain vigilant in our efforts to be prepared for that worst-case scenario.
Q. What would happen if a person came to AJH who has symptoms of or concerns about having Ebola?
A. If a patient meets the CDC criteria for suspected Ebola, he/she would be transferred safely from AJH to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In an effort to keep any potential exposure to a minimum, the patient would not be tested for Ebola at AJH.
Q. Are there any confirmed cases of Ebola in Massachusetts to date?
A. No, there are none in Massachusetts. There are 3 confirmed cases in the US: One person who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from West Africa, and two Dallas hospital healthcare workers who had direct and prolonged exposure to the original patient.
Q. Do hospital staff, EMS providers, and others have access to the right equipment and training necessary to keep them safe from getting Ebola?
A. Yes, as part of the hospital’s Emergency Operations Plan, we have all the appropriate equipment needed to keep staff safe. We are also providing staff with hands-on training in the proper use of this equipment.
Facts About Ebola
You can only get Ebola from:
- Touching the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died of Ebola
- Touching contaminated objects, like needles.
- Touching infected animals, their blood or other bodily fluids, or their meat
In order to be considered to possibly have Ebola, a person must have:
- Recently traveled to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone and/or been in contact with a person who is sick with Ebola AND shown symptoms of Ebola. Ebola is only contagious if the person is experiencing active symptoms.
Early symptoms of Ebola include:
- Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
- Stomach pain
- Muscle pain
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising