Please keep in mind that the risk for any one person in our area to contract Ebola virus is incredibly small, as the virus is spread only while people have symptoms, and only by exposure to blood or body fluids. The people who have the greatest risk are those who care for patients with Ebola while they are sick, which primarily include health care workers and family members. Others in the community have minimal to no risk at this point.
That being said, Ebola is a very serious risk for those who do catch it, and those who care for them, so proper safeguards are necessary.
When you call our office about a sick child, you will be asked about travel or exposure to those who have traveled internationally and become ill. The same will happen when you come to our office. The goal is to identify anyone at high risk so that they can be seen at an Ebola treatment facility as opposed to in the office as medical offices are not able to provide the necessary testing or care for someone who might be sick with Ebola.
If you know that you or your child is high risk for Ebola due to symptoms of fever with or without extreme weakness, headache, vomiting, diarrhea or cough, after travel from West Africa or exposure to someone who has traveled there, please proceed to an emergency room at an Ebola treatment center. Do not come to the office - we do not have the facilities to treat you here. Ebola treatment centers are at Stony Brook Medicine in Suffolk and at North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Nassau.
On a separate but related topic, we urge that everyone get themselves and their families vaccinated for influenza. Some of the early symptoms can be confused with early symptoms of Ebola, and in a given year influenza is responsible for approximately 50,000 deaths in the United States, of which approximately 100 are children.
Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions you have.