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Local emergency rooms prepare for possible Ebola cases

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Liz Bonis) -- A patient who traveled to west Africa and had flu-like symptoms in Columbus, Ohio tested negative for Ebola Tuesday.
   
But, emergency rooms were on high alert all over the country, including in the tri-state.  It's not uncommon for Doctor Kevin Meyer to have his team on high alert each day for patients who come in who are very sick and for infectious diseases.  The Centers for Disease Control said could make everyone very sick.

In addition to that they are also on high alert for something many people are hearing about these days, Ebola.  That's because we live near an international airport and that means a patient could be exposed to Ebola and then travel into the tri-state.

Dr. Kevin Meyer, an ER doctor for Mercy Health West emergency department said, "We have been circulating info to our physicians to be on alert that the threat exist.  And to ask the question of your typical patients if they have any travel or have been exposed to anyone from western Africa."

The travel question is key.  The World Health Organization said more than 1,600 in west Africa have now been infected with this virus that causes flu-like symptoms. 

So to stay prepared against its spread, "We have to wear protective garb, we have gowns and masks and we also have things that look like space suits to put on," said Nancy Rosenacker, an RN at Mercy West.

The space suits are needed for close contact, the virus is not airborne.  It's more of a droplet, so it's a blood sweat and tears thing!  They place patients in what's called a negative pressure room.  That means the virus particles and infection are contained within a special room.

There's no real treatment for Ebola.  Testing and observation right now helps determine the next step for proper care.

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