CDC issues Ebola guidelines in advance of pandemic

science | Sep 15, 2014 | By Martin Barillas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta GA, has issued a warning to hospitals and medics that “now is the time to prepare,” in a six-page “checklist” to help healthcare workers to quickly determine if patients are infected by the Ebola virus. The deadly virus has swept through much of West Africa, especially Liberia and killed hundreds. Poor sanitation and overtaxed hospital facilities in the region have aided the spread of Ebola.
 
See checklist here.
 
Even though the the CDC does not believe that there are new cases of Ebola in the United States, the underlying assumption in the checklist appears to be that Ebola may soon spread in the country. One part of the warning reads, for example, "Encourage healthcare personnel to use a ‘buddy system’ when caring for patients.” Three patients, brought from Africa over the last month, have been treated in U.S. hospitals, including the facility at Emory University in Atlanta. In Spain, a Catholic missionary priest - who served as a physician in Liberia - died in Madrid after being airlifted to Europe.
 
The CDC warning also provides a process for reporting cases of Ebola infection:
 
Plan for regular situational briefs for decision-makers, including:
 
-- Suspected and confirmed EVD patients who have been identified and reported to public health authorities.
 
-- Isolation, quarantine and exposure reports.
 
-- Supplies and logistical challenges.
 
-- Personnel status, and policy decisions on contingency plans and staffing.
 
The checklist has been distributed to hospitals of various sizes throughout the country. Hospital websites are now posting the checklist online.  “Every hospital should ensure that it can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion,” warn the CDC document. “While we are not aware of any domestic Ebola Virus Disease cases (other than two American citizens who were medically evacuated to the United States), now is the time to prepare, as it is possible that individuals with EVD in West Africa may travel to the United States, exhibit signs and symptoms of EVD, and present to facilities,” it adds.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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