Second Healthcare Worker Tests Positive for Ebola; UNC Expert Discusses Risks and Precautions for Healthcare Workers

Article ID: 624698

Released: 15-Oct-2014 9:50 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of North Carolina Health Care System

Expert Pitch

Newswise — "All healthcare workers know they run a risk when they take care of patients, particularly those with communicable diseases," says Dr. David Weber, professor of medicine, pediatrics, and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

"In Africa," Dr. Weber describes, "more than 300 healthcare workers have acquired Ebola. More than 200 of those have died."

"Healthcare providers are well aware of the risks...and we accept that risk," Dr. Weber says.

When it comes to volunteer healthcare workers willing to treat patients with Ebola, the focus now should be to minimize those risks through proper training, Dr. Weber says.

"We need to do that ahead of time, before the patient comes, because we train those people intensively," Dr. Weber explains. "How to safely put on and take off their personal protective equipment," for example.

"And we screen them as well," Dr. Weber continues, "for those that might be pregnant, have open wounds or skin, those that themselves are immunocompromised...we wouldn't accept those people because they would be at higher risk."

View more comments from Dr. Weber in the video embedded to the right, and for media inquiries, please contact UNC School of Medicine media relations. Please note, Dr. Weber is traveling abroad until Monday, October 20 and any media follow-ups would need to be schedule after his return.


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