Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital and the other care facilities that comprise the Duke University Health System have a history of successfully addressing complex and demanding medical and patient care challenges. You can rest assured that Duke has been preparing for the potential for dealing with a case of Ebola since the first two patients arrived in the U.S. in July.
A comprehensive infection control plan has been put into place. Patients who arrive at any of our hospitals or physician offices are being immediately screened for any possible risk of exposure to Ebola. Our health care teams also have a clear process for immediately isolating any patients warranting an infectious disease consult in designated, confined examination rooms.
On this site, in the “About Ebola” section, you will find a variety of information about the disease as provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Of particular interest might be their information about transmission of the virus. In the section they cover the fact that Ebola is only transmitted when a person comes in direct contact with the bodily fluids of a patient infected with Ebola. Ebola is not transmitted through the air.
Should an Ebola patient ever require hospitalization at Duke, a special section of the hospital that is confined and secured, would be used for this purpose. Our health care teams at all three hospitals are reviewing and training on proper infection control measures, including sterilization and patient isolation procedures consistent with guidelines provided by the CDC.
If the situation arises, we are confident of our ability to care for a patient with Ebola without posing a hazard to those in the Duke and greater Triangle communities. If called upon to care for a patient with Ebola, the chance of this resulting in an infection risk for other patients, visitors, staff or others is extremely unlikely, to the point of being almost non-existent. Duke’s infectious disease teams are in regular contact and communication with experts at the CDC, as well as officials at state and local health departments, to ensure access to any new information about the virus or caring for these patients.
The safety and quality care of all of our patients is our highest priority. We appreciate your interest in learning more about our preparedness should a patient arrive at Duke.
William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, Executive Vice President, Duke University Health System
Thomas Owens, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Duke University Health System