Ebola preparedness at UNC Hospitals and our clinics

Review the preparations underway at UNC Hospitals and our clinics in case a patient presents with symptoms and a travel history consistent with Ebola Virus Disease.

Facts about Ebola

  • Ebola is NOT spread through casual contact, air, water, or food grown or legally purchased in the U.S.
  • Ebola virus can be spread via direct contact with:
    • Body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola (blood, vomit, urine, feces, sweat, semen, spit, other fluids)
    • Objects contaminated with the virus (needles, medical equipment)
    • Infected animals (by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat)

Ask, Isolate, Call - Help us identify patients at risk for having Ebola

To identify any potential Ebola patients, the focus for employees at UNC Hospitals and our outpatient clinics is "Ask, Isolate, Call." The following questions are also built into the travel screening process for each patient in Epic@UNC:

  • Ask all patients:
    • Have you traveled outside of the US within the last 30 days?
    • If yes, have you traveled to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Mali in the last 30 days?
    • Have you been near persons or remains of persons with a diagnosis of Ebola?
    • Have you had a fever, headache, or other typical symptoms of Ebola (joint and muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite)?
  • Isolate
    • Any patient with a fever or clinically compatible illness (see symptom list above) who has been in any country affected by the Ebola outbreak within 30 days of symptom onset should be placed immediately in a private room and given a mask to wear.
    • Inform the patient that "We are committed to taking care of you and we are taking these precautions for your health and the health of others."  
  • Call
    • Call Hospital Epidemiology immediately 24/7 for any suspected case of Ebola (phone = 919-966-1636, pager = 123-7427).
    • Infection Control and/or the Ebola Care Team will respond ASAP and lead the care of the isolated patient.

Supporting documents

Caring for patients with Ebola

A group of experts at UNC Hospitals and the UNC School of Medicine is working to ensure all appropriate individuals are trained and equipped to protect patients, guests, the community, and each other if we receive a patient with Ebola.

Additionally, an inpatient location for care has been designated at UNC Hospitals if needed. This area will have space for patient care, point-of-care laboratory testing, equipment storage and separate areas for donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Our Ebola Coordinating Group is chaired by Dr. David Weber, medical director of Hospital Epidemiology, and co-chaired by Dr. Billy Fischer, Assistant Professor of Medicine, who treated Ebola patients in West Africa this summer. We are working in close consultation with the State of North Carolina’s Division of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We know there is much anxiety about this situation, especially for health care workers. Please submit any questions you have via Glad You Asked. We will provide updates as additional information on our plans is available.

Thank you for your service to our patients and the people of North Carolina.



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