Medical Transport and Communicable Diseases
Whether a patient is fit to fly on medical transport is a common question we are faced with. We often deal with communicable diseases on our air ambulances and we take many considerations into account when evaluating each case. Fortunately, one disease we have never had to consider transporting is Ebola. However, we do receive many questions about the disease and medical transport. We thought we would answer some of those questions here.
Last month, we even wrote a blog focused on facts about communicable diseases, specifically Ebola. At time, although several people had received treatment for Ebola in the U.S., no one on U.S. soil had been diagnosed with Ebola. Since then, one patient was diagnosed within U.S. boundaries and most recently, two of his caregivers became the first individuals to contract Ebola in the U.S. What does this mean to the average person on the street? Should you be concerned? The CDC maintains that the risk of a major outbreak, like those seen in Africa, are very slim. So, although your risk is low, it is still important to be educated about the disease.
- Ebola virus is not spread through casual contact, air, water or food grown or legally purchased in the U.S. In this regard, it differs from other illnesses like the flu or measles which can be airborne and, as a result, are significantly more contagious.
- You can catch Ebola through direct contact with:Body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died form Ebola.Objects contaminated with the virus like needles or other medical equipmentInfected animals through their blood or other body fluid or through the consumption of infected meat
- Early symptoms of the disease include: fever, headache, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, unexplained bleeding or bruising, and muscle pain. Symptoms can begin anywhere from 2-21 days after exposure. A person is only contagious when they are exhibiting symptoms. If, after 21 days, an exposed person does not develop symptoms, they will not become sick with Ebola. Since the early symptoms of Ebola closely mimic the flu, hospitals are reinforcing their questioning protocols and asking sick individuals if they recently traveled to Africa, and now possibly, Texas
Ebola, like other communicable disease, requires specialized protocols and training. As always, when flying, patient safely is our first priority. We take every opportunity to make our patients feel safe, comfortable, and respected while traveling with us. We also go above and beyond to make certain our staff is protected and careful while working.
To find out more about MedFlight911's worldwide air ambulance services, give us a call at 888-359-1911 to get a no-obligations air medical transport quote here.
For more information about being fit to fly, check out our previous blogs:
Tough Decisions: When a Patient Isn't Fit to Fly
When Are You Safe to Fly with MedFlight911?
4 Facts about Communicable Diseases