Ebola Quiz Shows Room for Improvement

Even though their hospital is close to an international airport identified as a likely entry point for travelers from West African countries with Ebola, physicians at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, NY, did not know as much as they should have about the virus, a study shows.

Physicians at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, NY work at a facility that is a short drive from JFK International Airport. A team of physicians there was curious to see how much staff knew about Ebola, given the likelihood of visitors from the Ebola hot zone who could be infected with the virus winding up in their emergency room.

Their findings, presented May 17 during a poster session at the 2015 America Thoracic Society annual meeting in Denver, CO, show “suboptimal” knowledge about the virus, Mohammad Aldaas, MD, and colleagues reported.

The questionnaire, given to 104 physicians at the community hospital, was based on facts culled from the websites of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

According to the study, the overall percentage of correct answers to such questions as whether mosquitoes can serve as a vector of transmission (they cannot) was 61%.

The physicians did well on knowing the names of the 3 African countries where the epidemic was centered at the time the quiz was given, October 2014. They also scored high on identifying the main way of transmission (body fluids) and the fact that corpses of victims are reservoirs of viral infection.

But scores on other questions were lower.

Only 39% knew that the virus cannot be transmitted from asymptomatic patients, for instance and 23% were wrong about the mosquito being a transmission vector.

“We recommend more education for physicians to increase knowledge and to achieve proper degree of preparation for this disease,” the team wrote.