Houston health care facilities prepare for patients with infectious diseases

Local hospitals get ready even if Ebola cases are distant

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Health care facilities in Houston said now is the time to prepare to care for patients with infectious diseases like Ebola virus.

"There's really no antiviral for this at this time; no vaccine," said Dr. Luis Ostrosky.

Ostrosky is the medical director of epidemiology at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UT Health. He said while there are no cases of Ebola there, the hospital prepares because it knows a disease around the world is only one flight from Houston.

"This week we've been meeting about Ebola and how we would handle a patient if we had a patient here, beefing up our isolation practices, equipment and everything," said Ostrosky.

The experts at UT Health demonstrated how health care workers protect themselves as they care for patients with Ebola.

"It's important for us to monitor what's going on there and take reasonable precautions here as well in case something might arrive here that might be possibly infected," said UT Health safety vice president Dr. Robert Emery.

Two layers of gloves protect health care workers' hands. A protective suit covers the body and feet. Goggles, a mask and hoodie cover the head.

Ebola spreads through contact with bodily fluid. Emery said how workers disrobe is just as important as suiting up.

"As the individual comes out, they will spray the person down to disinfect, then there's a whole process for the sequential removal of that protective equipment," Emery told Local 2.

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