Ebola: Updated CDC Guidelines

EBM Focus (Ebola: Updated CDC Guidelines) - Volume 9, Issue 42

Read the full EBM Focus and earn CME credit.

The world is presently experiencing the largest outbreak of Ebola virus disease (Ebola) in history. Over 9,000 persons have been infected in West Africa, resulting in over 4,500 deaths. Three cases have been diagnosed in the United States, two among nurses caring for the first patient.

Following the transmission of Ebola to healthcare workers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revised their guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). New CDC guidance emphasizes:

  1. Rigorous and repeated training in performing all infection control procedures, specifically the donning and doffing of PPE, with demonstration of competency for all healthcare workers involved in the care of Ebola patients.
  2. No skin exposure when PPE is worn. New step-by-step instructions require full-body coverage, including use of a surgical hood with single use face shield, fluid-resistant gowns supplemented by waterproof aprons and boot covers, double gloves and either N95 respirator or powered air purifying respirator (PPAR). Use of facemasks and goggles are no longer considered adequate.
  3. Supervision by a trained observer to ensure that there is no breach in protocol when healthcare workers don or doff PPE.

CDC also reminds all healthcare works to “Think Ebola” and “Care Carefully.” Ask any patient with a febrile illness about travel to an area with Ebola transmission or any potential Ebola exposure within the past 21 days. Immediately isolate any patient with potential Ebola and institute your institution’s Ebola preparedness plan. Contact local or state health departments when Ebola is suspected or if an asymptomatic exposure is identified.

For more information, see the Ebola virus disease topic in DynaMed. CDC guidelines, fact sheet and triage algorithm and additional information can be found at CDC Ebola virus disease homepage.