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CDC Director Urges All Hospitals To 'Think Ebola'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said that hospitals need to take additional precautions when caring for patients with fever who have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in the last 21 days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said that hospitals need to take additional precautions when caring for patients with fever who have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in the last 21 days. Video Credit: pbsnewshour

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Hospitals in Fairfield County and throughout the nation have been urged by the director of the Centers for Disease Control to "Think Ebola," as the outbreak in West Africa continues.

Dr. Tom Frieden said in a news conference Monday that hospitals must know how to diagnose Ebola isolate a suspected case.

"When we think about hospitals where Ebola care can be given, really there are two different steps," Frieden said. "The first is diagnosis, and every hospital in this country needs to think about the possibility of Ebola in any one with a fever or other symptoms that might be consistent with Ebola who's traveled to any of the three countries -- Liberia, Sierra Leona and Guinea -- in the previous 21 days.

"Whatever else we do, that's critical throughout our entire health-care system so that patients are rapidly diagnosed if additional patients become ill in this country.

"Second is the issue of care of Ebola once the diagnosis has been made. I think what we recognize is that care is complex and we're now working very closely with the hospital to make that care simpler and easier."

Frieden's comments came after the first case of Ebola spread in the U.S. was announced on Sunday, a 26-year-old Dallas nurse identified as Nina Pham who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who became sick after arriving in the United States and died at the hospital.

"What we need to do is all take responsibility for protecting the safety of those on the front lines," Frieden said.

Ebola, which is not an airborne virus, cannot be transmitted by being in the same area as someone who is infected.

The virus is contracted only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal and it only becomes contagious when an infected person or animal has symptoms.

For signs and symptoms of Ebola, click here.

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