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Review of Ebola response provides context for future infection control recommendations

National recommendations and strategies are needed to help hospitals prepare for potential Ebola cases and other emerging infectious diseases. The authors of a review published in Annals of Internal Medicine describe the infection prevention and control measures implemented in a community hospital in 2014 when it became the first hospital of its kind to care for a patient with Ebola.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids, which puts health care personnel caring for Ebola patients at particular risk for infection. In September 2014, a Liberian man was diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas community hospital and two nurses were infected while providing his care. To help prevent further disease transmission, a multidisciplinary team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined the hospital’s infection preventionists. Together, they established a system of occupational safety and health controls that included changes to the hospital’s physical layout, procedures for handling clinical specimens and waste, and job duties of health care personnel. The authors also describe the complexities associated with implementing appropriate procedures for donning and doffing personal protective equipment. The authors suggest that these prevention and control measures may help to inform national policies for preparedness for Ebola and similarly challenging infectious diseases.

Article DOI: 10.7326/M15-2944, Annals of Internal Medicine. Published online Monday 9 May 2016. Note: Full reference information not provided to MNT pre-embargo.