In the wake of last week's announcement that a New York doctor who returned from Guinea tested positive for Ebola, public health professionals and hospitals have remained vigilant in preparing to respond to potential future cases of the disease.
Gov. Rick Perry took a step to beef up Texas' preparedness level and announced the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease biocontainment facility in North Texas, as recommended by the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.
In addition to the North Texas facility, The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston has also been designated an Ebola treatment and infectious disease biocontainment facility.
"In the event of another diagnosis, this facility will allow us to act quickly to limit the virus' reach and give patients the care they need in an environment where health care workers are specially trained and equipped to deal with the unique requirements of this disease," Governor Perry said. "We are fortunate to have such talented and dedicated leaders here in North Texas and at UTMB Galveston who are willing to step forward during a time of need."
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Methodist Hospital System, and Parkland Hospital System will partner to set up and operate the North Texas facility. Partner hospitals plan to provide the facility and equipment, and staffing will be moved to the facility on an as-needed basis upon activating the unit.
The Texas Medical Association has been busy providing Ebola virus information and resources to Texas physicians.
The TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases urges physicians to study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for personal protective equipment and environmental infection control measures in ambulatory settings. Physicians can also contact their local health department or regional health office and the DSHS infectious disease unit at (800) 252-8239 for further instructions.
TMA also has developed patient handouts — in English and in Spanish — and released a video, Why You're Not At All Very Likely to “Catch” Ebola, featuring Robert Haley, MD, director of the Division of Epidemiology in the Internal Medicine Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
For additional guidance on the virus, visit the TMA Ebola Virus Resource Center.
Action, Oct. 31, 2014