As of Sunday evening, November 2, a patient has been admitted to Duke University Hospital for further evaluation and testing for potential Ebola virus infection. We expect to know the results of this test from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services sometime Monday morning. Meanwhile, the patient is being cared for in the same confined, isolated and secured space in which an actual Ebola patient would be treated. The patient is receiving care from a seasoned team of Duke clinical professionals who have completed extensive training to treat such a patient.
We have anticipated this possibility for several weeks now and have a plan in place to manage this situation. We appreciate that some may be concerned in hearing this news but wanted to review some facts we hope will be helpful.
Duke Has Planned and Prepared
- With world-class infectious disease experts and extensive infection prevention and protection protocols in place, we are confident in our ability to successfully care for this patient while awaiting the results of the Ebola test, and also preventing risk of exposure to the virus if, in fact, it is present.
- We have had a comprehensive infection control plan under development since August and have been actively screening all patients for any risk of exposure to Ebola who have presented to Duke University Health System offices and facilities for the past several weeks.
Transmission Risk is Extremely Low and Unlikely
- While we don’t yet know this patient’s Ebola status, it’s worth noting that the risk of transmission of the virus to any patients, visitors, employees or health care professionals within Duke University Hospital is extremely low and highly unlikely.
- Ebola can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of a patient with the virus. Ebola is not spread through the air like the cold or flu virus.
- Importantly, to date, there are no known cases in the U.S. of transmission of Ebola to patients, visitors or family members at the hospitals in which Ebola patients were being treated, or among the family members and acquaintances of the patients themselves.
Safety Is Our Priority
- The team treating the patient has undergone extensive training on the use of personal protective equipment and infection control procedures with Duke’s infectious disease team and the experts in Duke’s state-of-the-art biosafety lab.
- Our infectious disease team is in continuous contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments to monitor any new information related to the virus or care for Ebola patients.
We Are Committed to Caring for all Duke Health Patients
- While the situation related to caring for this patient, as we await the results of the Ebola test, will be a high priority, our care providers will continue to deliver outstanding care to all Duke Health patients.
As one of the leading academic medical centers in the nation, Duke has a history of responding to serious health and medical challenges. Treating this patient is not only consistent with our institutional values and mission, but also aligns to our commitment to our local communities.