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California Hospitals Preparing For Potential Ebola Outbreak

Wikimedia Commons

Ebola virus virion. Created by CDC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.

Wikimedia Commons

There have not been any diagnosed cases of Ebola in California. But hospitals are preparing just in case. Emergency rooms in California are now asking for travel histories from patients. The change follows the case of a man in Dallas who contracted the Ebola virus in Africa and then flew to the United States.

Jan Emerson-Shea is with the California Hospital Association. She says hospitals are constantly preparing for potential diseases outbreaks and the procedures for dealing with Ebola are the same as for any infectious disease. Emerson-Shea says healthcare workers are accustomed to dealing with potentially dangerous situations.

"(A) few years ago after 9/11 there was anthrax and smallpox. There was SARS a few years ago,” she says. "This is what healthcare workers do day in and day out."

Emerson-Shea says any patient showing potential symptoms of Ebola will be isolated and staff will be given protective gear. A patient requiring a higher level of care than a hospital can provide would be transferred to a better equipped facility.