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University of Chicago Achieves National Ebola Center Designation

Medical Center is among 35 U.S. hospitals capable of treating potential Ebola patient

December 2, 2014

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated the University of Chicago Medical Center as a national Ebola treatment facility -- one of 35 in the country and four in the city.

The other three Chicago hospitals named by the CDC are Rush University Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. Together with the University of Chicago, they comprise the Chicago Ebola Resource Network, which was activated in early November by state and city public health officials.

The CDC worked closely with state and city authorities to identify the list of 35 hospitals, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' announcement Tuesday. They were designated based on their ability to care for and manage a patient with confirmed Ebola throughout the entire disease process. In addition to patient care standards, the CDC assessed these institutions' staff training, infection control protocols, usage of personal protective equipment and plans for the proper removal of medical waste.

Additional hospitals will be named after the CDC is able to visit and evaluate an institution's ability to care for a patient with Ebola. The agency is also working to identify assessment hospitals, which would accept and monitor a suspected Ebola patient for up to 96 hours while awaiting test results. A patient who tests positive for Ebola would be transferred to a designated treatment center.

"This designation underscores our readiness and capability to treat patients with acute-care needs," said Kenneth S. Polonsky, executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago. "Our Ebola-related planning has been under way since July and our staff's extensive training is continually being reinforced. We are confident that we can care for an Ebola patient while keeping other patients, their families and our staff safe."

Patients with Ebola are not infectious until they begin displaying symptoms of the disease, and transmission of the virus requires direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Chicago.

For more information about the CDC announcement and to see the list of designated Ebola treatment centers, visit the Department of Health & Human Services website at hhs.gov.

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