Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls is well-prepared to handle any crisis that might arise due to the Ebola virus, representatives said Monday.
No patient would actually be treated in Cannon Falls, but if one were to present in the Emergency Department or clinic that patient would be isolated and then immediately transferred to Rochester via Gold Cross.
All staff has access to head-to-toe protection. All Mayo Clinic staff members have been trained on and are following a specific screening algorithm for potential Ebola patients. That includes asking patients about recent travel history. Patients who exhibit symptoms compatible with Ebola and have traveled to an affected West African country, or who had contact with a know Ebola patient within the previous 21 days, will be rapidly identified.
In a statement, Clinic officials said "Mayo Clinic has the capability to isolate and treat patients in our hospitals. In Minnesota, we have plans in place to transport any patient at any of our regional Mayo Clinic Health Systems sites to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester. Transfer will be done only by Gold Cross ambulance units, so local ambulance services will not have to do transfers."
Ebola is a virus that causes hemorrhagic fevers, marked by severe bleeding, organ failure, and in many cases, death. It is native to Africa.
Ebola lives in an animal host, and humans can contract the virus from infected animals, through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles.
No drug has been approved to treat Ebola. Patients diagnosed receive supportive care and treatment for complications, which can include organ failure, severe bleeding, seizures and comas.
Early signs and symptoms include fever, severe headache, joint and muscle aches, chills and weakness. Over time, symptoms can become increasingly severe and include nausea, diarrhea, red eyes, chest pain and cough, stomach pain, severe weight loss and bleeding. One reason the virus is so deadly is that it interferes with the immune system's ability to mount a defense. There have been no reported cases in Minnesota.