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EbolaCDC assigns risk management teams to hospitals

Published 17 October 2014

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it would send a team of experts to any hospital in the country with a confirmed Ebola case, saying that if such a precaution had been taken at the recent botched infection case on 8 October in Dallas, Texas that facility staff would not have been at risk for infection. These disease control specialists will be able to manage situations including infection control, lab science, personal protective equipment, and the overall management of Ebola units and wards.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that it would send a team of experts to any hospital in the country with a confirmed Ebola case, saying that if such a precaution had been taken at the recent botched infection case on 8 October in Dallas, Texas that facility staff would not have been at risk for infection.

As Insurance Journal reports, following the infection of nurse Nina Pham while she treated Thomas Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the CDC is now tightening its control and surveillance efforts of medical centers. The transmission was the first on U.S. soil, following Duncan’s return from Liberia. Amber Vinson, a second nurse involved in Duncan’s treatment, has also been infected.

“We’ll put a team on the ground within hours, with some of the world’s leading experts in how to take care of and protect health care workers,” said Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC. “I wish we’d put a team like this on the ground the first day the patient was diagnosed. That might have prevented this infection.”

These disease control specialists will be able to manage situations including infection control, lab science, personal protective equipment, and the overall management of Ebola units and wards. Further, the Dallas hospital will receive training from Emory University Hospital’s elite infectious diseases unit.

“The CDC will double down on training, outreach, coordination, education and assistance to keep the disease under control,” said Frieden, “Even a single infection is unacceptable.”

The department is also now monitoring seventy-six different health care workers who interacted with Duncan and may have had contact with his bodily fluids, in addition to forty-eight other individuals outside of the hospital.

Frieden also confirmed that the CDC still does not know exactly how Pham was exposed to the virus.

The current outbreak of the Ebola virus has infected about 8,400 people, with roughly 4,400 deaths in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. While there are experimental drugs in testing stages, there is no fully approved treatment outside of replacing bodily fluids and incorporating antibiotics to ward off the infection.