Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Should hospitals in the US keep silent about Ebola?

Some hospital systems are keeping their website, Facebook and Twitter users informed about the changing status of Ebola in Africa. Most hospitals, however, are silent about Ebola, even though people in their service areas are watching news reports daily on Ebola and worried about such diseases coming to the US.   

Ebola can showcase the excellence of hospitals, physicians, and public health in America in keeping infections contained. Emory University Hospital took a calculated risk when it agreed to accept two American missionaries in West Africa who were infected.  Both patients recovered, giving Emory and its partner, the CDC, a gold star in public perception and in infectious disease control in the US. 

Isn't now the time to talk about both far-away Ebola as well as infectious diseases right here in the USA, such as the flu - which killed 49,000 people in the US in 2013.  

Is this a time, when we have the public’s full attention, for education on infectious disease control and population health?  Or should hospitals continue to stay silent?