Local hospital prepared for Ebola epidemic - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Local hospital prepared for Ebola epidemic

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Three tents are lined up outside the emergency room at Dell Children's Medical Center.

"It's not for Ebola, it's just for training drills," said Dr. Coburn Allen, a faculty member over Infectious Disease and Emergency Medicine. "You bring the patients through one area, decontaminate, then move into another area, perhaps for triage, where they get their vital signs and then a treatment or a holding area."

The set up allows the patients to get the best care possible and the doctors to work in a safe environment.

"The whole idea is to not contaminate each section," said Allen.

Two Americans returning home were infected while providing care to others coping with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

"You need to protect your face and skin with special equipment so that you don't get the infection from the patient and we have those here," he said.

Allen says it's one of the largest epidemics in history.

"That's really a function of the lack of resources in those countries and having protective gear," he added. "We're leading the effort in the world to try and stop the epidemic in Africa right now."

American hospitals have been training for decades, for a response to a possible Ebola threat.

Allen said, "Since the swine flu epidemic, that really taught a lot of American institutions how to respond to a mass infectious epidemic, we've gotten very good at learning how to isolate and really make sure that we don't transmit the disease from person to person. For Ebola, there is no specific treatment."

Allen is also the medical director of "My Life Speaks," a clinic in Haiti.

"People ask me, are you worried about Ebola...no, I'm not. I'm worried more about people not getting vaccinated for the flu. I'm worried more about....maybe outbreaks of hysteria occurring than anything actually happening," said Allen.

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