Louisville companies search for protective gear preparing for Eb - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville companies search for protective gear preparing for Ebola

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville healthcare workers are preparing for the possibility of treating an Ebola patient, but a nationwide shortage makes one tool they need to protect themselves from the virus hard to find.

Steve Haise runs All Safe Industries and right now he said his Louisville sales are doing all good.

"Our Web site is going crazy," he said. "We're seeing orders to the level that we've never seen before."

Haise sells Hazmat suits and pandemic protection kits among many other safety supplies and he said he knows why business is doing so well.

"Mainly because of the Ebola scare that's out there," he said. "Not only are the first responders and first receivers -- like hospitals -- ordering suit kits, but the everyday citizen is ordering a kit to protect the family."

Haise said the nation's response to the Ebola virus spiked his sales roughly 300 percent. Manufactures tell him he'll have to wait for more suits. "Four-to-six weeks in some instances," he said.

The shortage is nationwide as the healthcare industry looks to buy the same suits. Two of the three confirmed Ebola cases in the U.S. are nurses who treated an infected patient. The CDC plans to change protocols, saying healthcare workers should only wear protective gear with no skin showing as they treat the virus.

Rural Metro Ambulance is just one company looking to order to come in line with new CDC mandates. "What we are currently using now does have exposed skin," said John Hultgren of Rural Metro Ambulance. "I think everyone in the medical community is talking about it," he added.

Louisville firefighters let WDRB's Gilbert Corsey try on one of their training Hazmat suits. The suit is heavy and takes two people to help put on. Ebola is spread through contact with the virus like a sneeze. The reason the suits are in such high demand is because they protect the first responder from touching anything.

Between fire departments in the city and county, the health department and the National Guard, estimates are Louisville has about 100 of the suits ready for city use if the worst becomes a reality.

Consensus in the medical community is this. "I think the likelihood of us getting an Ebola patient in the Louisville area is very low," said Hultgren. Though you must be prepared. "No one thought they were going to see an Ebola patient in Dallas, and they did," said Hultgren. Monday four dozen people who had contact with the original Ebola patient in Dallas are expected to complete a three-week watch period with no sign that any of them contracted the virus.

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