The New York Times reported: “Hospitals nationwide are hustling to prepare for the first traveler from West Africa who arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said such a case is inevitable in the United States, and the agency this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients.
The recommendations touch on everything from the safe handling of lab specimens to effective isolation of suspected Ebola patients …
The C.D.C. says that health care workers treating Ebola patients need only wear gloves, a fluid-resistant gown, eye protection and a face mask to prevent becoming infected with the virus. That is a far cry from the head-to-toe “moon suits” doctors, nurses and aides have been seeing on television reports about the outbreak.
The Ebola virus is spread through contact with body fluids, such as those in blood, sweat, saliva or feces. While it is not an airborne virus like the flu, contaminated droplets can be released briefly into the air during procedures performed on infected patients, such as the insertion of a breathing tube. In that case, the C.D.C. recommends the use of air-purifying respirators.
In recent weeks, C.D.C. officials have said repeatedly that any hospital in the United States can safely provide care for a patient with Ebola by following their exacting infection-control procedures and isolating the patient in a private room with an unshared bathroom.”
Click here to read the full NYTs article “Hospitals in the U.S. Get Ready for Ebola” by Catherine Saint Louis.
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Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration.
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