Ever since the Ebola virus was discovered in West Africa in 1976, it has become the most resilient and lethal virus known to date. The Ebola virus has become one of the most fatal diseases in the world (Evans & Kaslow, 1997). The latest outbreak of this disease in West Africa has infected over 70 people and out of those, 43 infected died due to the disease (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). This virus has been responsible for the death of thousands of people in West Africa, and the number keeps growing. During the past month, the United States has had two cases of Ebola. This major event has significantly affected how the United States health care system isolates and treats patients with the disease. The United States has always been vulnerable to an Ebola outbreak. This recent event generated the question Are health care organizations in the United States prepared and equipped to deal with a virus like Ebola? Despite years of research, scientists haven’t been able to determine the reservoir for the Ebola virus (Stimola,2011). The person can become infected with the virus in many ways but it is mainly by having direct contact with an infected patients mucous membranes or broken skin. It also is spread by the exposure of body fluids like urine, sweat, feces, blood, and vomit of an infected person.
The Ebola virus is very hard to detect because it can have an incubation time of up to 21 days in some cases. This means that it can take up to 21 days before the first symptom appears. Some of the signs and symptoms are severe headaches, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, abdominal pain, unexplained bleeding and a fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has established guidelines on how to prevent the transmission of the disease in hospitals across the United States (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Health care providers rendering care to patients with Ebola are at higher risk of exposures. Today, we have two cases of Ebola in the United States, and one of them was a nurse who was treating a patient infected with the Ebola disease. These cases of Ebola in the United States have created the concern how preventive measures are being implemented in local hospitals. It has also allowed many health care organizations to identify areas of weakness. Are health care providers properly following protocols or are they even in place? Currently due to the lack of an FDA-approved vaccine the, morbidity and mortality rate for Ebola is high. This has caused health care leaders to make changes on how they monitor the treatment patients infected with this virus. This proves that not all hospital in the United States are equipped, prepared and educated enough on how to isolate and treat patients with the Ebola virus.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention agency and health care organizations must find measures to prevent this from happening in the future. During the evolution of the United States health care system, it has been successful in the areas of technology and research. But still scientists haven’t been able to determine the origin of a virus that has hit the American people. Health care organizations are now aware that they need to improve the surveillance system within their organizations. Health care organizations have to determine if they can properly identify and quarantine infected individuals. Health care organizations and government agencies will find ways to overcome this significant event caused by the Ebola virus in the United States. The strong beliefs and values of the American people of overcoming diversity will allow them to find ways to improve the surveillance system, prevention, treatment, and quarantining infected patients in their organizations.
There has been many significant events that has changed the health care of the Unites States. Today we briefly discussed the impact that the Ebola virus outbreak in the United States had over the American health care system. The authorities claim that hospitals in the United States are equipped and with isolation units and have the medical resources to handle any case of Ebola. However, recent cases of Ebola in the country haven’t supported the claims provided by authorities. An outbreak of Ebola in the United States has allowed health care organizations to identify areas of improvement within their organizations. It also has gained the support of the government on finding ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). 2014 Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/drc/2014-august.html Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospital. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/infection-prevention-and-control-recommendations.html Evans, A.S., & Kaslow, R.A. (1997). Viral Infection of Humans. New York, NY: Plenum Publisher. Stimola, A. (2011). Ebola (4th ed.). New York, NY: Rose Publishing.