Low Risk, High Prep For Ebola In Granite State

Oct 9, 2014

Monrovia, Liberia
Credit Associated Press

Hospitals across the state say they’re ready for the unlikely possibility that a patient with Ebola could walk through their doors.

There are a lot of reasons it is unlikely Ebola could come to the Granite State. There are no direct flights from West Africa to any New England airport. Also, Ebola only spreads from direct contact with an infected person.

Still, this week saw the first death from Ebola in the United States. So hospitals here are reminding doctors what the symptoms of the deadly virus are, and encouraging them to ask patients about their recent travel history.

Elizabeth Talbot, an infectious disease doctor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and deputy state epidemiologist, says hospitals are ready to isolate a potential patient to ensure Ebola doesn’t spread.

"It can be terrifying to see the images coming from West Africa, and indeed it is a catastrophe there," says Talbot. "But [that] is not our circumstance in the United States or in New Hampshire, and I’m confident every hospital has what it takes to be prepared right now."

The World Health Organization says the death toll from Ebola in West Africa is approaching 4,ooo.