Thursday, January 29, 2015

Keep informed: Ebola update

For the past several months a team of experts representing many departments throughout Mass General has been discussing and planning strategies for all aspects of care and logistics related to managing Ebola virus disease safely should a patient with suspected Ebola come to the hospital.

MGH Prepares: A Well-Planned Response to Ebola

What is Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)?
Ebola is an infectious disease that can make people sick and in some cases, it can be fatal. In the past, it has caused intermittent outbreaks in various African countries. As of today, a limited number of people with Ebola have been treated in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working closely with state and local health departments to understand and manage the public health risks posed by Ebola.

What is the MGH doing in response to Ebola?
As of Jan. 26, 2015, there are no patients with Ebola at any of the Partners HealthCare hospitals, including the MGH. However, the hospital remains vigilant in its preparation strategies on all aspects of care should a patient with suspected Ebola come to the hospital.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?
Signs and symptoms of Ebola can start between 2 and 21 days infection. They include fever (or even feeling feverish), headache, weakness, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or bleeding.

How is the Ebola virus transmitted?

  • To contract Ebola, you have to directly get body fluids (such as urine, feces, saliva, sweat, vomit, semen, breast milk) from someone who has Ebola in your mouth, nose, eyes or through a break in your skin or through sexual contact.
  • Air, food and water do not carry the Ebola germs.
  • A person is not contagious unless they exhibit symptoms.


Jan. 29, 2015: Updated materials

UPDATED: Information flyers for Patients and Staff

We know many of you have fielded questions from your patients and their family members about Ebola. In response we have created “MGH Prepares:  A Well-Planned Response to Ebola” Fact Sheets that are now available to download. These flyers were updated Jan. 26, 2015:

Fact Sheet for Staff

Fact Sheet for Visitors

UPDATED: A Travel Health Alert flyer has been approved for placement in waiting rooms or clinic entryways.

Dec. 11, 2014: Memo sent to the internal MGH community

Dear Colleagues,

As the holiday season approaches, many individuals will be traveling to visit family and friends. We are writing to urge those of you traveling to the countries in West Africa affected by Ebola – including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – to take the following steps to ensure your safety and to avoid getting another illness that causes fever. Other febrile illnesses, such as malaria and flu, might be confused with Ebola. This could result in unnecessary hospitalization and might delay the diagnosis and treatment of malaria or flu.

Prior to travel, check with your primary care provider regarding preventive health services. We strongly recommend:

  • Everyone, including travelers, regardless of your destination, be vaccinated against the flu. Contact your primary care provider or MGH Occupational Health at 617-726-2217 if you are an MGH employee.
  • All travelers to these areas take recommended prophylaxis for malaria – you can contact your primary care physician directly, who may prescribe for you or refer through standard MGH CRMS referral system to the MGH Travel Clinic.

Check in with your manager or supervisor before you leave and prior to returning to work. They will coordinate with Occupational Health Services to ensure your safety and the safety of patients and colleagues. You must notify Occupational Health before you return to work as there may be mandatory screening requirements for individuals returning from these areas.

 Stay up-to-date:

We wish you a safe and healthy holiday season. As always, we are here to help with any questions or concerns.

Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, FAAN
Senior Vice President for Patient Care and Chief Nurse

David C. Hooper, MD
Chief, MGH Infection Control Unit

Paul Biddinger, MD MGH
Medical Director, Emergency Preparedness

Stephen B. Calderwood, MD
Chief, MGH Division of Infectious Diseases

Andy Gottlieb, NP, FNP-BC
Director, MGH Occupational Health Services

Hilarie Cranmer, MD, MPH
Director of Global Disaster Response, MGH Center for Global Health

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