CDC Releases New Ebola Guidelines 10/21 06:41
Federal officials are going on the road with new guidelines to promote
head-to-toe protection for health workers treating Ebola patients.
ATLANTA (AP) -- Federal officials are going on the road with new guidelines
to promote head-to-toe protection for health workers treating Ebola patients.
Officials on Monday night released the advice, which health workers had
pushed hard for after two Dallas nurses became infected while caring for the
first person diagnosed with the virus in the United States.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials will be demonstrating
the recommended techniques Tuesday at a massive training at New York City's
Javits Center, with an expected attendance of thousands.
The president of a group representing 3 million registered nurses said she's
glad to finally see better federal advice. Health care workers said the CDC's
old guidance was confusing and inadequate, and left them fearfully unprepared
for how to deal with an Ebola patient.
"Today's guidance moves us forward," said Pamela Cipriano, president of the
American Nurses Association, in a statement Monday night.
Demand for new guidance was spurred by the unexpected infections this month
of the two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. It's not clear exactly
how they became infected, but clearly there was some kind of problem, CDC
Director Dr. Tom Frieden said.
"The bottom line is the guidelines didn't work for that hospital," Frieden
said, in announcing the revised guidelines Monday evening.
Earlier CDC guidelines had been modeled on how Ebola patients in Africa were
treated, though that tends to be less intensive care done in rougher settings
--- like tents. They also allowed hospitals some flexibility to use available
covering when dealing with suspected Ebola patients.
The new guidelines set a firmer standard, calling for full-body garb and
hoods that protect worker's necks; setting rigorous rules for removal of
equipment and disinfection of hands; and calling for a "site manager" to
supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.
They also call for health workers who may be involved in an Ebola patient's
care to repeatedly practice and demonstrate proficiency in donning and doffing
gear --- before ever being allowed near a patient.
And they ask hospitals to establish designated areas for putting on and
taking off equipment, whether it's a room adjacent to an Ebola patient's room
or a hallway area cordoned off with a plastic sheet.
The CDC cannot require hospitals to follow the guidance; it's merely
official advice. But these are the rules hospitals are following as they face
the possibility of encountering patients with a deadly infectious disease that
a few months ago had never been seen in this country.
The CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been
pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government
All this stems from the case of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who came
down with Ebola symptoms last month while visiting Dallas.
Duncan went to the hospital Sept. 25 but was not tested for, or diagnosed
with, Ebola. He returned to the hospital three days later and on Sept. 30
tested positive. He died Oct. 8.
Duncan's case led to the monitoring of about 50 people who came in contact
with him before his second trip to the hospital, and dozens of health care
workers who cared for him after his admission.
Some good news this week: The 50 in the initial contact group have passed a
21-day observation period and no longer are deemed at risk for coming down with
the dreaded disease.
Youngor Jallah spent the past three weeks confined to her small apartment
with her children and boyfriend, fearing they had contracted the deadly Ebola
virus from Duncan, who was her mother's fiance.
But with the household emerging symptom-free from the incubation period,
Jallah's family members are now trying to resume their lives - replacing the
personal belongings incinerated in a cleanup at her mother's home, and
overcoming the stigma of the Ebola scare that has gripped Dallas.
"If they see me at the store, they run away," Jallah told The Associated
Press on Monday.
There are now about 120 people in Texas being monitored for symptoms, with
their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the
number may fluctuate.
There are also about 140 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact
or potential contact with nurse Amber Vinson, Ohio officials said. Vinson, who
cared for Duncan in Texas, flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew
back Oct. 13.