Tags: Ebola Outbreak | CDC | Tom Frieden | field | team

CDC's New Ebola Plan Includes Enhanced Procedures, Training

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Oct 2014 04:41 PM

CDC Director Tom Frieden says a field team has been sent to the Dallas hospital where the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died last month and where a nurse who treated him is now hospitalized with the virus.

Frieden held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he outlined new plans to control any new cases of the virus inside the country.

Twenty people "who have stopped Ebola outbreaks in very difficult situations in Africa" have been sent to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national, was treated, Frieden said.

Nurse Nina Pham is now being treated for Ebola in the same hospital.

Frieden said the CDC is looking at every step in the procedures and making enhancements. He described a few of what he said were several changes being made.

The first is ensuring there is a site manager every hour of the day to oversee aspects of infection control. That person will make sure personal protective equipment is put on and taken off properly. As seen in Africa, Frieden said, this is "the single most important position to protect health workers."

There also will be enhanced training, he said, which will include ongoing and refreshing training by two nurses from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta who cared for Ebola patients.

The CDC also is recommending the number of staff be limited so they can become more familiar with putting on and taking off equipment.

Frieden said that at least 76 healthcare workers may have been exposed to Duncan or his blood. All will be monitored for symptoms on a daily basis.

Amid concerns that the protective gear may be too bulky, thus causing exposure when it is removed, Frieden said his agency is looking at whether a different type of personal protection should be used as well as whether different procedures should be used for putting it on and removing it.

The CDC is establishing an Ebola response team for any hospital that has a confirmed case, Frieden said.

That team could be put on the ground within hours and would include experts in infection control, laboratory science, personal protective equipment and management of Ebola units, as well as experts who will assist with experimental therapies, public education and environmental controls.

They also will assist with any needed transport of patients and with waste management and personal decontamination.

Heathcare workers across the country have said they feel they aren't properly trained to treat Ebola patients, and Frieden said those concerns are being addressed. There will be more webinars, conference calls, outreach and support through hospitals and professional associations.

"Every hospital in the country needs to be ready to diagnose Ebola," Frieden said, even if patients end up being transferred to regional hospitals designed to handle the virus. Frieden said the CDC is looking into that possibility.

Frieden said he is optimistic about the 48 contacts Duncan had before being hospitalized. All have passed 14 days of the 21-day incubation period, making it unlikely they will contract the virus. He said the majority of patients show symptoms before the first 14 days.

The nurse now being treated had only one contact before being hospitalized.

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CDC Director Tom Frieden says a field team has been sent to the Dallas hospital where the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died last month and where a nurse who treated him is now hospitalized with the virus.
CDC, Tom Frieden, field, team
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2014-41-14
Tuesday, 14 Oct 2014 04:41 PM
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