Ebola Virus Infection Guidelines

Updated: Jan 14, 2021
  • Author: John W King, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Guidelines Summary

CDC Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel and Health Officials

An advisory from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC’s) Health Alert Network on the evaluation of patients for Ebola by healthcare personnel and health officials include the following [52] :

  • Ebola should be considered as a possibility in patients who present with fever, myalgia, severe headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
  • For any patient presenting with fever or other symptoms consistent with Ebola, inquiries should be made as to whether the patient traveled to an Ebola-affected country in the 21 days before the onset of illness.
  • Patients who report having travelled to an Ebola-affected country and who are exhibiting Ebola symptoms should be isolated in a private room with a private bathroom, and standard, contact, and droplet precautions should be implemented. [53]
  • Local and state health departments should be notified immediately.

According to the advisory, individuals at the highest risk for Ebola infection include the following [52] :

  • Anyone who has had direct contact with the blood and body fluids of an individual diagnosed with Ebola
  • Anyone who has had close physical contact with an individual diagnosed with Ebola
  • Anyone who lived with or visited an Ebola-diagnosed patient while the patient was ill

Guidance from the CDC recommends that healthcare personnel who care for patients infected with Ebola virus (ie, physicians, nurses, other clinicians) wear personal protective equipment (PPE) that does not expose any skin. This includes a surgical hood that covers the head and neck and a single-use full face shield (rather than goggles), in addition to either a N95 respirator or powered air-purifying respirator instead of a mask.

The CDC now recommends that clinicians train rigorously at donning and doffing PPE in a stepwise manner and demonstrate competency. A trained monitor should oversee each time a clinician puts on and takes off this gear.

During patient care, the PPE should not be adjusted, and the worker’s gloved hands should be disinfected frequently using an alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR), especially after body fluids are handled. [47]