Tag Archives: infection

New York Hospital Queens confident it could handle Ebola


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CDC/ Frederick A. Murphy

Ebola isn’t in New York City. But New York Hospital Queens has been preparing for an outbreak, according to a panel of four of the hospital’s doctors during a press conference on Tuesday.

“Everyone here is very concerned about the Ebola virus,” said Sorana Segal-Maurer, director of the hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases. “Because we’re located in an area where there’s a lot of international travel, we’ve taken steps to prepare for Ebola.”

The press conference was held to assure the public that the Flushing hospital was capable of handling and quarantining a patient infected with Ebola, the virus that has killed thousands in West Africa. The doctors emphasized that during this flu season, it’s hard to identify the Ebola virus because its symptoms in patients are similar to many seasonal colds.

To discern between a life-threatening illness and a common cold, the nurses and doctors in the Queens hospital ask patients about their travel history. A recent trip to Liberia lands the patient in quarantine, according to Dr. Mark Kindschuh. There are currently no patients in the hospital that are currently being held in quarantine.

“Our staff are trained to ask travel questions,” he said. But the doctors and the hospital don’t know what to do with the patients after that step, and they suggested that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention would step in.

“We do not know what those next steps are but we’re preparing for caring for Ebola patients here,” said Mimi Lim, director of Infection Control.

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JFK most likely U.S. airport to spread disease


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

If a disease is to spread across the country, JFK Airport will most likely be the starting point.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study looked at the 40 largest airports in the country to determine the most likely to spread a contagion throughout the nation, with JFK topping the list.

The Queens airport’s ranking had nothing to do with sick passengers or cleanliness — though waiting times were considered — but with how a disease may advance to other parts of the world.

“Our work is the first to look at the spatial spreading of contagion processes at early times, and to propose a predictor for which ‘nodes’ — in this case, airports — will lead to more aggressive spatial spreading,” says Ruben Juanes, the ARCO Associate Professor in Energy Studies in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The spread of disease was compared to the dissemination of information over social networks and the connectivity of JFK’s connecting airports vaulted it to the top of the list.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, was done to help determine measures for containing infections and distributing vaccinations in the early days of a contagion.

JFK is followed on the list by Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Newark, O’Hare and Dulles.