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Southern W.Va. health agencies prep for Ebola

10/17/2014

The Charleston Gazette
By Lydia Nuzum

Area health-care providers are ramping up infectious-disease protocols and employee training to ensure they are ready to respond to an unlikely but potential diagnosis in West Virginia — Ebola, the viral hemorrhagic fever wreaking havoc in several West African countries.

For local hospitals, such as Charleston Area Medical Center, Saint Francis and Thomas Memorial, that means screenings of every patient that include one important question: whether they’ve traveled recently to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea or another West African country where outbreaks of the disease have been confirmed.

“Currently, patients are being screened at all points of entry in our facilities — inpatient and outpatient,” said Leslie Blackhurst, an infection control nurse for Saint Francis Hospital. “We actually ask the travel question first, regardless.”

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