In light of the recent Ebola cases in the United States, Southeast Georgia
Health System has coordinated meetings with city, county and state officials
to discuss infection control procedures and preparedness plans.
"It’s important that we share available information on infection
control and preparedness measures to protect our communities," says
Elizabeth J. Sudduth, M.D., infectious disease, Southeast Georgia Health
System. "We certainly hope we are never confronted with a case of
Ebola, but we have to be prepared to care for such a patient and to be
able to protect our team members as well as our other patients and visitors."
In addition to Health System disease and infection health experts, the
talks have included officials from Glynn County Health Department, Coastal
Health District Department of Health, State Department of Health, Glynn
County Fire Department, International Seafarer’s Center, Southeastern
Pathology Associates and the U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
Sudduth explains that the Health System is always prepared to care for
patients impacted by infectious diseases, and that protocols and checklists
are in place to ask questions and to take appropriate actions based on
patients’ responses. "Patients arriving to the Health System
emergency care centers will be asked if they have traveled to West Africa
within the past 21 days or have been exposed to anyone who has. If the
patient answers yes, they will be placed in an appropriate setting of
precautions based on current CDC guidelines."
Lynn Reynolds, R.N., CIC, coordinator, infection prevention, adds, "Ebola
is not spread through air, it is spread through direct contact with blood
or body fluids of a person who is already sick with Ebola. The health
care providers caring for the patient will wear personal protective equipment
while assessing the patient’s symptoms, and an infectious disease
doctor and the health department will be notified."
Sudduth acknowledges that although Ebola is frightening, it can be prevented.
"Every one should always practice good hygiene, especially hand washing,
and avoid contact with blood or body fluids. If a person has been exposed
to someone with Ebola or traveled to an area of Ebola outbreak, they should
monitor their health and seek medical care immediately if they develop
symptoms of Ebola."
More information about Ebola is available on the Health system website
at sghs.org/news-events/ebola-update or at cdc.gov/vhf/ebola.