Ebola Resource Center

As many people know, the Ebola outbreak has reached a new level of concern across our country. Please know that Meridian Health is taking the necessary steps to ensure that it is well prepared to respond to this threat with the safety of patients, guests, team members and physicians as our priority.

Important Ebola Message from NJ Department of Health:
The NJ Department of Health has provided important video information on the Ebola virus for New Jersey's West African communities.

What is Ebola?
Ebola, or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF), is a contagious and life-threatening disease that affects humans and other primates, like monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees. It causes the body's immune system to go into overdrive — which can lead to severe bleeding, organ failure, and death.

Ebola gets its name from the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). The disease was first reported in a village on the river in 1976. Since then, there have been a few outbreaks of the disease in western Africa, Uganda, and Sudan.

ebolaSpecial Precautions
When arriving at a Meridian hospital or facility, patients and guests will notice signage regarding Ebola. If you, or someone you have been in contact with, have recently traveled to the continent of Africa and are experiencing flu-like symptoms, you should report that information immediately upon checking-in at the facility.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Aches
  • Body Rash
  • Stomach Pain
  • Bloody Nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Red Eyes

Updated Ebola Outbreak Map:

Resources and Information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information about Ebola on their web site, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/. The site provides robust resources for community members and health care providers, breaking news, and printable materials. It is a trusted source on this important health topic.

Ebola FAQs

What are the signs and symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease?
1) Clinical criteria, which includes fever of greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and additional symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained hemorrhage.

2) Epidemiologic risk factors within the past 3 weeks before the onset of symptoms, such as contact with blood or other body fluids of a patient known to have or suspected to have EVD; residence in—or travel to—an area where EVD transmission is active, i.e. in this case Western Africa; or direct handling of bats, rodents, or primates from disease-endemic areas. Malaria diagnostics should also be a part of initial testing because it is a common cause of febrile illness in persons with a travel history to the affected countries.

Are Meridian hospitals prepared to care for patients with Ebola Virus Disease?
Yes, Meridian hospitals follow the Centers for Disease Control’s infection control recommendations and can isolate a patient in a private room.

When should patients with suspected EVD in U.S. hospitals be tested?
CDC recommends testing for all persons with onset of fever within 21 days of having a high-risk exposure such as:

  • percutaneous or mucous membrane exposure or direct skin contact with body fluids of a person with a confirmed or suspected case of EVD without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE),
  • laboratory processing of body fluids of suspected or confirmed EVD cases without appropriate PPE or standard biosafety precautions, or
  • participation in funeral rites or other direct exposure to human remains in the geographic area where the outbreak is occurring without appropriate PPE.

For persons with a high-risk exposure but without a fever, testing is recommended only if there are other compatible clinical symptoms present and blood work findings are abnormal.

If a patient in a U.S. hospital is identified to have suspected or confirmed EVD, what infection control precautions should be put into place?

  • Isolate the patient: Patients should be isolated in a single patient room (containing a private bathroom) with the door closed.
  • Wear appropriate PPE: Healthcare providers entering the patients room should wear: gloves, gown (fluid resistant or impermeable), eye protection (goggles or face shield), and a facemask. Additional protective equipment might be required in certain situations (e.g., copious amounts of blood, other body fluids, vomit, or feces present in the environment), including but not limited to double gloving, disposable shoe covers, and leg coverings.
  • Restrict visitors: Avoid entry of visitors into the patient's room. Exceptions may be considered on a case by case basis for those who are essential for the patient's well being. A logbook should be kept to document all persons entering the patient's room.
  • Avoid aerosol-generating procedures: Avoid aerosol-generating procedures. If performing these procedures, PPE should include respiratory protection (N95 or higher filtering facepiece respirator) and the procedure should be performed in an airborne infection isolation room.
  • Implement environmental infection control measures: Diligent environmental cleaning and disinfection and safe handling of potentially contaminated materials is of paramount importance, as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine and other body secretions represent potentially infectious materials should be done following hospital protocols.