TGMC Takes Steps to Prevent Ebola


Terrebonne General Medical Center(TGMC) is prepared and has taken the steps to review its emergency preparednessplan and collaborate with community emergency preparedness resources for patientswith infectious diseases such as the Ebola virus.  The potentially deadly virus has become theforefront topic among medical authorities around the world, and while thisvirus is severe, there is very little risk of it spreading to our community atthis time. There are currently no known cases of Ebola in Louisiana.   If apatient was to present to TGMC with Ebola-like symptoms, the healthcareprofessionals at TGMC are prepared and ready to treat these patients and keepthe spread of the virus under control. TGMC’s infectious disease healthcarepersonnel are trained to deal with these types of infectious diseases, includingrecognizing the signs and symptoms, making the correct diagnosis and providingappropriate care dependent upon the diagnosis.They are also taking a very strong and prominent lead in continuededucation of our staff including real time drills and daily educationalreviews.

TGMC is following protocolsdesignated by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and wants to ensure our community is aware and has the facts surroundingEbola.  It is important to note that Ebolais spread through the direct contact of bodily fluids of a person who is sickor has died from the virus.  It can bespread by blood and bodily fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat andsemen) of a person who is sick with Ebola and from objects (like needles) thathave been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick withEbola.  It cannot be spread by casualcontact, air, water or food grown in the U.S.

 Ebola can only be spread toothers after symptoms begin. Symptoms can appear from 2 to 21 days afterexposure.  Symptoms include; fever,headache, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, unexplained bleeding or bruisingand muscle pain. 

Ebola only spreads when people are sick. A patient must have symptoms to spread the disease to others. After 21 days, if an exposed person does not develop symptoms, they will not become sick with Ebola.

 It is important to protectyourself.  There is currently noFDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola.  Experimental vaccines and treatments are underdevelopment, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety oreffectiveness. As with all infectious diseases, there are several guidelines tofollow at all times to avoid the spread of Ebola.  It is important to wash your hands often withsoap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  It is important not to touch the blood orbody fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat and semen) of people whoare sick.  Do not handle items that mayhave come in contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, like clothes,bedding, needles or medical equipment. 

Should a patient at TGMC show thepotential signs of Ebola, the hospital will implement the TGMC emergencypreparedness plan and put into place best practices, guidelines andrecommendations by the CDC protocol and contact the appropriate authorities forfurther direction. 

“Ebola is a serious disease thatwe know is on the minds of the members of our community,” said Phyllis Peoples,President and CEO of TGMC.  “Although thechance of the virus spreading to our community is very low at this time, we canassure everyone that TGMC is prepared to care for any patient that may presentthe symptoms of the virus, while also assuring that the disease is not spreadto other patients or our healthcare professionals. Our staff is made up ofhighly trained healthcare professionals that are devoted to keeping ourcommunity safe from infectious diseases.”

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