There are now specific rules for how to handle the Ebola virus, a week and a half after its first appearance in the country.
The historic diagnosis has impacted the way hospitals are treating patients both young and old.
Children’s Medical Center Dallas has agreed to treat pediatric patients diagnosed with Ebola – from newborns all the way to age 14, according to the State Health Department.
Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas will treat anyone older.
Hospital staff has very specific instructions on protection they should wear and how to properly assess patients in the field. Emergency service providers, such as 911 operators now have an Ebola protocol in place, too. Call takers have a list of questions to ask to properly handle people who may have Ebola.
The 48 people who were under observation after they had contact with Ebola victim, Thomas Eric Duncan, were instructed to call the Dallas County Health Department if they start to show any signs or symptoms of Ebola.
And as we enter into flu season, it’s important to note that Duncan’s case has effected people’s perception of their own symptoms.
Dr. James Pinckney said he’s seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in calls from patients.
“There is a little bit of hysteria, a little bit of anxiety out there. Normally people have nausea, vomiting, not feeling so hot, they might stay home, but with kind of the Ebola fever out there, people might have a lower threshold to visit an ER, call their doctor,” he said.
Most doctors continue to stress that unless someone has recently traveled to West Africa, or had direct contact with an Ebola patient – they don’t need to worry about having the Ebola virus.