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Ebola Information and Resources

Ebola

At Rutland Regional, our commitment to the health, well-being and safety of our community — essentially everything we do — is in preparation to handle emerging health care issues.

The health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors remains our top priority. Hospital leaders, physicians, nurses, educators, infection control and other departments have been monitoring the situation and have teamed up to create an Ebola Preparedness Team ensuring that we are prepared for the unlikely, but potential, arrival of a patient exhibiting signs of Ebola.

The Ebola Preparedness Team is following Ebola-specific plans and protocols, developed at the Nebraska Medical Center and at Emory Healthcare and in conjunction with the latest Vermont Department of Health (VDH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, to facilitate swift action that protects both our patients and staff.

Additionally, Rutland Regional has identified areas that would be used for patient isolation, inventoried supplies including personal protective equipment for staff, and provided training and best practices on patient identification, isolation, infection prevention and procedures for reporting possible infection.

Below are some helpful tools and resources developed by Rutland Regional Medical Center to help guide you in your own preparation and planning. We hope you find these to be helpful.

The 4 I's of Ebola Planning

Ebola Virus Disease Update - What You Need to Know Now

Rutland Regional Medical Center has been actively planning for the possibility that a person exposed to Ebola or already ill with Ebola may come to us for care. Effective, prompt communication is key. We remain committed to providing quality, compassionate care with utmost consideration for the continued health and well-being of patients and staff. 

All staff members must have a heightened awareness of individuals who come to us and must act as the first line of defense by following this four-step process:

1. Inquire

  • Have you traveled to West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali), or an Ebola affected area, within the last 21 days?
  • Have you been in close physical contact with a person who has traveled to West Africa or an Ebola affected area?

2. Identify

Screen individuals presenting the following symptoms: Fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite and in some cases bleeding

3. Isolate

If both criteria are met, have the patient put on a mask and moved to a designated private room. Enhanced precautions should be followed during further assessment.

4. Inform Immediately

Local/State Public Health Authorities: VT Department of Health             
802.863.7240 or visit their website

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – CDC Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
770.488.7100 or visit their website

or email the EOC
eocreport@cdc.gov     

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this document.

Facts about Ebola

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest Ebola epidemic in history. This outbreak is affecting multiple countries in West Africa. One imported case and associated acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the US.

A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until symptoms appear

The time from exposure to when signs or symptoms of the disease appear (the incubation period) is 2 to 21 days, but the average time is 8 to 10 days. Signs of Ebola include fever and symptoms like severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.

  • Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Ebola is spread through direct contact through broken skin on through your eyes, nose or mouth) with:
    • Blood and body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva vomit, sweat, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
    • Objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola.
  • Ebola is not spread through the air, water or food.

Protect yourself against Ebola

There are no vaccines available for Ebola. Experimental vaccines and treatments are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

What to do if you are exposed to Ebola

If you have traveled to an area with an Ebola outbreak or had close contact with a person sick with Ebola, you may be at risk if you:

  • Had direct contact with blood or body fluids or items that came into contact with blood or body fluids from a person with Ebola.
  • Touched bats or nonhuman primates (like apes or monkeys) or blood, fluids or raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Went into hospitals where Ebola patients were being treated and had close contact with the patients.
  • Touched the body of a person who died of Ebola.

You should check for signs and symptoms of Ebola for 21 days

  • Take your temperature every morning and evening.
  • Watch for other Ebola symptoms, like severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
  • Call your doctor even if you do not have symptoms. The doctor can evaluate your exposure level and any symptoms and consult with public health officials to determine if actions are needed.
  • During the time that you are watching for signs and symptoms, public health officials will determine what public activities are safe and if you should go to work.

If you get sick after you come back from an area with an Ebola outbreak

  • Get medical care RIGHT AWAY if you have a fever, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel to West Africa or contact with a person who was sick with Ebola and your symptoms BEFORE you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room. Calling before you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room will help the staff care for you and protect other people.

For additional guidance, information and resources, contact

Local/State Public Health Authorities: VT Department of Health
802.863.7240 or visit their website

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – CDC Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
770.488.7100 or visit their website

or email the EOC
eocreport@cdc.gov     

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this document.

FAQs about the Ebola Virus

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a virus discovered in Africa in 1976. It is a filovirus, which produces hemorrhagic fever in affected patients. Course and symptoms can range from mild to fatal in humans. Ebola is a serious illness with no known cure.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?
Symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Weakness
  • Lack of appetite

How is it spread?

Ebola is spread from person to person in two ways:

  1. Direct contact with bodily fluids (e.g., blood) of an infected patient.
  2. Needle stick injuries from sharps that have been in direct contact with the infected patients’ bodily fluids.

How do you treat Ebola?

There are no specific, FDA-approved medications to treat Ebola available. Data accumulated from previous outbreaks and the current epidemic in West Africa demonstrates the importance—and relative efficacy— of aggressive supportive care. Currently, we treat Ebola through:

  • Excellent medical and nursing care.
  • Careful monitoring of vital signs and pertinent laboratory values.
  • Special attention to fluid status and aggressive rehydration, including with IV fluids when indicated.
  • Correction of electrolyte imbalances.

How serious is Ebola?

Some people who come into contact with Ebola develop relatively minor symptoms, while others can become critically ill. Mortality rates as high as 90 percent have been reported for patients during the current outbreak in West Africa. Keep in mind that these rates are based on patient care environments that do not have access to the technology and resources available to us here in the United States. Evaluation of cases treated in the United States demonstrates a markedly lower mortality rate, with most patients recovering.

Is it safe to come to Rutland Regional Medical Center?

Yes. The safety and security of our patients, families, visitors and staff is our #1 priority. We have many precautions in place to ensure that this priority is continually addressed in the best possible manner.

What precautions is the hospital taking to avoid contamination?

Rutland Regional Medical Center is prepared to handle the arrival of potentially infected patients and has procedures in place to care for these patients.

Isolation

Rutland Regional Medical Center has isolation rooms within the hospital that are designed to control air exchanges and provide negative pressure. This environmental control prevents air from an isolation room from flowing outside the room. When exhausted, the air is subjected to HEPA filtration to remove any potentially infective particles. The air is monitored with mechanical monitoring 24 hours a day to make sure the airflow is always maintained. This air filtration is above and beyond what we need to care for patients with Ebola. In addition, the patient care team has personal protective equipment to protect them from contact with infectious materials while providing care.

Patient Care Team

Doctors, nurses and staff are prepared and competent to treat potentially infectious patients. They receive training in infection control protocols. They understand how the disease is transmitted and observe isolation precautions. As the risk for exposure increases, our methods of protection also increase. The care team is equipped to handle patients using the most rigorous precautions if they become necessary.

How will waste be disposed of for these patients?

All waste will be treated as bio-hazardous waste and disposed of consistent with CDC and federal regulations. Potentially infectious fluids will be disinfected to kill any virus particles prior to disposal.

What kind of training does the staff at Rutland Regional Medical Center undergo to provide care for the infected patients?

Staff are highly trained in the procedures that are necessary to treat patients who may have Ebola virus disease. Specially-trained staff attend classes, simulation training and do drills to be fully prepared to handle this type of situation.

What kind of access will be put in place? Will there be security? What about visitors

Visitors will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Security will be in place to ensure that no one has access to the unit other than those who are approved.

If the Ebola virus is transmitted in the same way HIV and Hepatitis B or C are transmitted, why are there so many precautions being put into place?

The Ebola virus is currently listed by the United States government as a Level A biohazard. This results in part from the high morbidity and mortality rate associated with Ebola infection. Because Ebola is on this list, we are required by law to take extra precautions when handling materials that may be contaminated or when treating patients that are infected with it.

If Ebola is not airborne, why is the care team wearing powered air purifying respirators (PAPs)?

All healthcare staff treating the patients infected with Ebola are primarily trained to use face masks and goggles, but when members of the care team are in the patient room for extended periods of time, it is simply more comfortable for them to wear powered air purifying respirators.

The Ebola virus is not airborne and it is not necessary for them to wear these respirators for their protection— they are doing so for so they can remain comfortable and provide needed care to their patients.

How are EMS professionals protected?

Like our physicians, nurses and staff, the EMS professionals are specially trained and prepared to transport patients with contagious infectious diseases.

Do we have a plan to receive patients with Ebola virus at Rutland Regional Medical Center?

Yes. While we do not expect to receive patients with active Ebola virus, we are prepared, trained and competent to identify and provide care for patients with Ebola virus disease should it become necessary.

Would patients with Ebola virus infections be transferred to other hospitals?

It is possible that patients with Ebola virus would be sent to other healthcare facilities for specialized care; however, in some cases patients with Ebola virus can be treated in a community hospital like Rutland Regional Medical Center.

If I come into contact with staff that are treating infected patients, can I get Ebola?

No. The team of nurses, physicians and staff who may treat infected patients carefully observe isolation precautions that are designed to prevent transmission of infection. They are well-versed in the proper methods of protection needed for contact with these types of patients. Additionally, providers are trained on self-monitoring following clinical treatment of potentially infected patients to identify any potential infection immediately. The safety of our patients and visitors is of utmost importance to us.

For additional guidance, information and resources, contact

Local/State Public Health Authorities: VT Department of Health
802.863.7240 or visit their website

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – CDC Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
770.488.7100 or visit their website

or email the EOC
eocreport@cdc.gov     

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this document.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Helpful Links

Questions and Answers on Ebola Virus Disease

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/patient-management-us-hospitals.html

Signs and Symptoms Ebola Virus Disease

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/symptoms/index.html

Transmission of Ebola Virus Disease (Human to Human)

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/index.html

Prevention of Ebola Virus Disease

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/index.html

Distribution Map of Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/distribution-map.html
CDC PDFs/useful tools attached

What is the CDC doing?

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/what-cdc-is-doing.html

For more information:

The Health Info section on our website includes educational information about Ebola and is a helpful resource.

Rutland Regional Medical Center
160 Allen Street
Rutland, VT 05701
802.775.7111

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