Ebola Resource Center

Ebola Resource Center

October 24, 2014
1 min read

CDC updates safety guidelines for health care workers treating Ebola

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The CDC has revised its infection control guidance for health care workers treating patients with Ebola virus, according to a press release.

The updated guidelines focus on personal protective equipment (PPE) use and is drawn from recent Ebola treatment experience from Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center and the NIH Clinical Center. The procedures are similar to those used by Médecins San Frontiéres.

The guidelines are focused on three principles:

  • rigorous training in PPE use, including systematic practice in taking it off and putting it on
  • no skin exposure while wearing PPE
  • supervision by a trained monitor for health care workers donning and doffing PPE

The focus on training is necessary because PPE can give health care workers a false sense of security, the release said. Training offerings for workers will be increased by the CDC and partners across the US to help implement this recommendation.

The majority of PPE recommended by the CDC as of August will continue to be supported. Changes included coveralls and single-use, disposable hoods added to the equipment list, and goggles being removed.

Along with the updated PPE guidelines, the CDC reminds health care workers to continue other areas of infection control, including background checks, prompt screening, reduced personnel in isolation rooms, effective sanitation, and the presence of designated site managers to ensure procedure implementation.

As of Oct. 23, two cases of Ebola were contracted within the US, both of which were nurses caring for a patient with Ebola.

Following the revision, the American Nurses Association released a statement commending the CDC.

“We are appreciative that the CDC has responded to nurses and health care professionals nationwide and acknowledged the need for clear, consistent guidelines for those caring for Ebola patients,” Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, president of the ANA, said in a separate press release.

“Today’s guidance moves us forward; it is consistent with ANA’s recommendations that health care organizations adopt PPE standards that have been demonstrated to provide effective protection for nurses and other health care professionals in the clinical setting when caring for confirmed Ebola patients.”