US issues stricter guidelines for treating Ebola

2014-10-21 09:43
Health official. (File, AP)

Health official. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US health authorities on Monday issued stricter guidelines for protecting health care workers against Ebola after two Texas nurses were infected while caring for a Liberian patient.

The new instructions "provide an increased margin of safety", said Centres for Disease Control and Prevention chief Tom Frieden.

Prior to working with an Ebola patient, medical personnel must be repeatedly trained in and able to demonstrate competency in putting on and taking off personal protective equipment, said Frieden.

The gear should allow no skin to be exposed and should include gloves, a waterproof gown or coveralls, a respirator, a face shield and a disposable hood.

"Goggles are no longer recommended as they may not provide complete skin coverage in comparison to a single use disposable full face shield", said a text issued by the CDC.

A trained observer must be present to watch every step of the process of putting on and taking off the equipment, he added.

"The greatest risk in Ebola is the taking off of whatever equipment the worker has on", said Frieden, saying the process should be "supervised and, in a way, ritualised."

The new guidelines update a previous document that the CDC issued before the nurses became infected while working in the intensive care unit to care for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on 8 October at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

"The bottom line is that the guidelines didn't work for that hospital", Frieden said.

Officials have not yet identified what happened to allow nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson to become infected, and Frieden said it may never be known.

He added that caring for an Ebola patient in the United States can be "riskier than in Africa", because of more high-risk procedures such as intubation.

However, he said the guidelines closely resemble those followed by Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) teams that are working in West Africa, where the largest outbreak of Ebola in history has killed more than 4 500 people since the beginning of the year.

Frieden said the CDC was working closely with hospitals that were "interested and willing" to treat Ebola patients, and was considering establishing certain expert centres in addition to the four hospitals with specialized bio containment units that already exist in the United States.

Read more on:    cdc  |  liberia  |  us  |  ebola

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.