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How San Diego Hospitals Would Handle Ebola

A World Health Organization worker trains nurses how to use Ebola protective gear in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sept. 23, 2014.
Michael Duff AP
A World Health Organization worker trains nurses how to use Ebola protective gear in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sept. 23, 2014.
How San Diego Hospitals Would Handle Ebola
San Diego hospitals are stepping up patient screening and reviewing protective equipment procedures in case an Ebola patient should show up at their door.

Over the weekend, public health officials confirmed a Dallas nurse, who cared for the first Ebola patient diagnosed on U.S. soil, contracted the virus herself, even though she was wearing protective gear.

Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday hospitals around the country should be prepared to spot Ebola and implement proper safety measures.

San Diego hospitals are stepping up patient screening and reviewing protective equipment procedures in case an Ebola patient should show up at their door.

Dr. Joshua Minuto, an infectious disease specialist at Sharp Memorial Hospital, said all incoming Sharp patients are now asked whether they've traveled outside the country in the past 21 days.

"We've made that universal now," Dr. Minuto said. "Whether you cut your finger or you come in with a fever of 104°, we're going to ask you this question."

To prevent transmission to health workers, Dr. Minuto said Sharp staff will be mentored on the proper way to put on and take off protective gear like goggles, gowns, and gloves. Individual staff members would also be assigned a partner to spot holes in their gear or errors in the removal process.

"It's very hard to gown up and then de-gown, without contaminating anything, by yourself," Dr. Minuto said.

Sharp has taken extensive precautions for the slim possibility they'll have to isolate and treat an Ebola patient, said Dr. Minuto. But with flu season just beginning, he also hopes the public pays attention to a disease that kills thousands of Americans each year.

"Ebola certainly is a possibility, and we worry about it because the mortality rate is high. But influenza is real, it's here, and it's been here for years."