An Ebola scare at an urgent-care clinic in Texas and another at a doctor's office near Boston have underscored the need for ambulatory care providers to prepare for patients who may present with Ebola-like symptoms, experts say.
Ebola was ruled out in both cases—one at a CareNow urgent-care clinic in Frisco, Texas, Oct. 8 and another at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Braintree, Mass., Oct. 12.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted documents to help outpatient providers, including a checklist to evaluate patients for Ebola and a preparedness checklist. If a patient presents with symptoms of Ebola—which can include fever, headaches, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea—and has traveled to West Africa or had contact with an Ebola patient in the past 21 days, providers should isolate the patient in a single room with a private bathroom and close the door.
If patients present with symptoms at the front desk, they should be placed in the nearest room possible, said Julie Loomis, assistant vice president of risk management at State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Co.