Alabama health officials have announced a new program to more readily identify and treat patients with highly infectious diseases.
Al.com reports Huntsville Hospital, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital and the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile will be the three assessment hospitals in a new Serious Infectious Disease Network. The Alabama Department of Public Health announced it’s establishing the network in response to several national disease outbreaks.
Dr. Mary McIntyre is the chief medical officer for ADPH. She says the new network is intended to respond to diseases like Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS, Middle East respiratory system or MERS, and certain types of flu infections.
McIntyre says the three hospitals all have special isolation rooms with negative airflow and special protective equipment for staff, and have established protocols to limit staff contact with potentially infected patients. Patients identified by other hospitals or health care providers as carrying a highly infectious disease will be transferred to one of the three assessment hospitals. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the patients would be transferred to a regional treatment center. The closest is Emory Medical Center in Atlanta.