Newspaper article Roll Call

Preparedness Issues Linger as Ebola Worries Intensify

Newspaper article Roll Call

Preparedness Issues Linger as Ebola Worries Intensify

Article excerpt

With each passing day, unfortunately, comes more and more uncomfortable, gloomy, even downright terrifying news about Ebola, which the Boston Globe recent exclaimed in a headline as "the next great American panic."

As the number of patients diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. increases, more and more Americans unsurprisingly feel that they are in danger of contracting the deadly disease, and even more fear a widespread epidemic in the U.S. is imminent.

Furthermore, many are now avoiding international travel while support for flight restrictions has grown considerably. Even school districts in Ohio and Texas, fearful of an outbreak, have temporarily closed.

The Healthcare Coalition for Emergency Preparedness shares America's concerns, especially in regards to preparedness issues that have not yet been resolved. As we said in a recent letter to Congress ahead of Thursday's hearing, Ebola has become a harbinger for our readiness to treat emerging exotic diseases only an airplane ride away.

Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently said, "We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control" - and the HCEP could not agree more. We should all work together to implement the right protocols and utilize the best American and international guidelines regarding infection control procedures to contain the disease and improve preparedness.

Here are a few simple solutions that can be implemented in a hurry: utilize designated treatment centers; establish protocols for patient movement; disinfect solid and liquid waste on-site and as close to the source as possible; and mobile waste sterilizers.

We know that some hospitals are simply not prepared or shouldn't treat such exotic infectious diseases for various reasons and that our current system would be stressed if dozens of patients or more were infected. Instead, it would be smarter to route patients to pre- designated health care facilities (or large centralized facilities in the event of a larger outbreak), that have the proper protocols in place, a highly trained staff, complete on-site Ebola disinfection and necessary bio-containment units to treat and contain Ebola and similarly infectious, lethal diseases. …

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