Blue Devil of the Week: Battling Infectious Diseases

Dr. Cameron Wolfe works with patients and helps institute hospital safety measures

Dr. Cameron Wolfe
Dr. Cameron Wolfe

“I split my clinic time between seeing patients, the majority of whom have received organ transplants, and thinking about the infections that they can get afterwards, and the other half of patients that I see are patients living with HIV.

The really variable part of my job is to think about outbreaks or infectious issues that can impact the entire institution, including the university. That part of my job can go from being very quiet for months to quite chaotic. The most prominent one of those in the past few years was Ebola, but prior to that was MERS, a respiratory infection coming out of Saudi Arabia. H1N1 was a previous one. Zika would be another one. These are things that by their very nature are unpredictable when they turn up. Being part of the early planning is really interesting because you feel like you can make some differences.

The time we brought our Ebola team together to manage a potential patient was pretty memorable. Ebola had been simmering in West Africa for many months, frankly, before it ever hit the public’s radar. What really kicked the response into high gear was the growing reality that potentially sick people would travel, and seeing sick people actively repatriating to the United States; it suddenly made it real. I served as an external liaison between Duke and state and federal public health officials to help triage calls about possible patients and to facilitate admissions. I also helped guide the construction of a team of Duke staff trained to care for such a patient and worked with the hospital leadership to find and redesign a ward that would meet infection control standards for housing a potential Ebola patient.”

Dr. Cameron Wolfe
Assistant professor of medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine
10 years at Duke

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