UNC Health Talk

Ebola planning and preparation at UNC Hospitals, clinics

Ebola is a serious threat and should not be taken lightly. Read below for information on Ebola and how to help patients with it.

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 – Staff help in identifying 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”:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Caring for patients with Ebola

A group of experts at UNC Hospitals and the UNC School of Medicine is meeting regularly 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 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 North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


UNC Hospitals’ employees can submit questions using Glad You Asked.