The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS), is communicating weekly with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and other stakeholders throughout the week to ensure that if a patient is diagnosed with Ebola in North Carolina the risk of transmission of the disease to caregivers and the general public is minimized, while giving the patient the highest quality of care.
To update NCMS members directly, Zack Moore, MD, NC DHHS Medical Epidemiologist, spoke at our Annual Meeting last week. He stressed that the only known method of transmission of the disease is through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is symptomatic when in contact with broken skin or mucous membranes.
For those physicians who work in a clinic or private office, the CDC protocol is to screen the patient for exposure to Ebola (question them about travel to countries in West Africa and contact with known Ebola patients) and identify any symptoms of the disease they may be exhibiting. If they meet the screening criteria, isolate the patient and call the public health department. A comprehensive description of this process is available through the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Preparedness and Response.
If you have questions, the NC DHHS has set up an information line to field questions: 1-800-222-1222, option 6. As of Wednesday, Oct. 29, the staff had fielded 220 inquiries since it went live Oct. 5. Also, the state has developed a website that compiles the latest from the CDC, instructions for clinicians and a video showing the proper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) for those hospital workers who may be caring for an infectious patient in isolation.
Watch the NCMS website for updates throughout the week.