SuperTalk Mississippi

Ebola in Mississippi: It Probably Won’t Happen, but UMC Can Handle It

JACKSON, Miss– Anxiety and panic over the Ebola virus has had people rushing to the ER, worried that they have symptoms. Dr. Skip Noland says an outbreak isn’t likely, but that University Medical Center could handle it if it did. 

There’s been one case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States and it’s in Dallas. That’s only 400 miles from Mississippi. The only outbreak so far in the US since then is panic, and it’s causing people to go to the ER with symptoms they believe are associated with Ebola. One person went to UMC over the weekend, scared that she was Ebola’s next victim.

“We isolated her, but then found that she was at extremely low risk. She just had a stomach virus,” says Dr. Skip Noland, Director of Infectious Diseases Division at UMC.

But if a case of Ebola Virus did make its way to Mississippi..

“We have isolation units. They’re not used often so they’re locked up,” says Dr. Noland, “and if we needed more, we could make adjustments in just a few minutes.”

Those adjustments would be clearing out all curtains and furniture, or any non-essentials that could potentially absorb blood or bodily fluids, which carries the Ebola virus.

Dr. Noland says that Mississippians shouldn’t panic.

“In a place like Liberia, it’s ravaged by 20 years of civil war. There’s, I’m guessing, 7 million people in the whole country, and only 50 doctors,” says Dr. Noland, “we have 50 doctors on a floor at any given moment.”

Dr. Noland says that public healthcare and state of the art equipment would make it virtually impossible for their to be a large scale outbreak.

“Unless something catastrophic happens that takes away public healthcare and shuts down every hospital, we’re not looking at sustained transmission in the United States.

There has only been one case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. That patient had recently traveled from Liberia.

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