Ebola is a potentially deadly viral disease which is not treatable by medications. Estimates range from 50-90% mortality rate. Infection is believed to be possible through direct contact, and is currently not considered an airborne disease. A person is considered infectious and should be quarantined when a fever is above 101.5 F, assuming that person’s fever is related to travel to, or contact with, any of the hotspots or persons who have been to or come from the hotspots in Africa.
It is believed if a person has not exhibited any signs or symptoms after 21 days, there is no risk.
Given the nature of some of the cases around the globe, clearly not all the information is consistent. More alarming are the cases of Ebola infection in which people who are unknowingly infected may have had multiple contacts with persons who may also become infected. This seems to be the case of the emergency room doctor in Spain, who just quarantined himself. How many patients did he contact before this self imposed quarantine. In theory, if he was afebrile it should not be a concern. However, if any one of these people become infectious, the virus spread will literally “go viral.”
We are screening all patients for fever using a non-contact infrared thermometer in the interest of protecting all our patients. Even though the likelihood of contagion is very small at present, we want to be very proactive in what could prove to be a serious problem. We request any patient who has a non-allergic cough or fever to please reschedule their appointment. For now, everyone should observe simple precautions: wash hands thoroughly after contact with strangers or foreign objects. Avoid high risk persons, e.g. people who have just come back from one of the African hotspots (after 21 days such persons are thought to be noninfected). But, if you have reason to suspect you have been infected, seek immediate Hospital care!