Reid Forms Ebola Advisory Group

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Reid Hospital in Richmond has formed an "Ebola Technical Advisory Group." Vice President of Medical Affairs Tom Huth says the risk of the disease reaching the area is low, but the hospital wanted to ramp up education as a precaution.

October 10, 2014

News Release

Richmond, Ind. -- The growing national attention and concern about the Ebola virus has been a topic and focus at Reid Hospital for several weeks, Reid officials said. And now the team has implemented an "Ebola Technical Advisory Group" as an additional precaution.

"Though we have been watching and discussing the Ebola concerns for quite a while, we recently implemented the internal advisory group, which is making sure our front-line staff is well-versed on how to handle any suspected cases of this or any other infectious disease," said Dr. Tom Huth, Reid Vice President/Medical Affairs. Dr. Huth noted that health officials believe the risk of Ebola reaching the area is low, "but we are in the business of being prepared for the unexpected – so we are taking precautions and planning steps."

As national concerns grew, the advisory group was formed to address Ebola worries and ramp up education about the disease. Representatives include physicians from various areas, Reid safety experts, infection control, emergency department and other key staff members, Huth said.

Ebola is not transmitted through the air, but only through direct contact with bodily fluids, making it less contagious than some infections. "All hospitals have long had in place proper procedures for dealing with an illness transmitted through bodily fluids," he said.

Dr. Steven Bobula, specialist with Reid Infectious Disease, said the extra precautions being taken by health care providers across the nation are extremely important. He also noted the resources already available in the Reid system, including his practice and other special staff members specially trained in infection control. "As new information comes to light about Ebola and more information is provided by the CDC, Indiana Department of Health and others, we can quickly integrate these recommendations into our care plan through the Ebola advisory group to help ensure our community is safe," he said.

Dr. Huth said all these efforts serve to increase staff and community awareness. "With Ebola and other concerns, we have increased awareness on our team, especially in the Emergency Department and physician offices, to ask about travel when patients come in, and implement any additional Centers for Disease Control protocols if needed," he said. Physician practices are also being refreshed on what to watch for related to Ebola and what precautions to take when a patient presents with Ebola-like symptoms, he said.

Infectious diseases are monitored year-round, Huth said. When warranted, extra measures are implemented to help reduce the risks of infection, along with the standard push to vaccinate patients and health care providers.

"It's important to note that the normal infection control measures that are always in place help protect against the spread of infectious illnesses," Huth said. "The best thing everyone can do to prevent such illnesses is to avoid close contact with people who are sick, wash their hands often and be sure to get preventative vaccines when possible."

So far, Huth said there have been no cases that warranted implementation of the CDC recommended steps for suspected Ebola. The disease symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite and in some cases bleeding AND travel to West Africa such as Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria Senegal, Sierra Leone or other countries where Ebola has been reported by the World Health Organization within 21 days of symptom onset.

"We feel our staff, facility, equipment and information processes are well-suited to identify potential patients, manage isolation as necessary and deal with any hazardous wastes," Huth said.

Source: Reid Hospital