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Healthcare personnel (HCP) were recruited to provide serum samples, which were tested for antibodies against Ebola or Lassa virus to evaluate for asymptomatic seroconversion.
From 2014 to 2016, 4 patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 1 patient with Lassa fever (LF) were treated in the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU) at Emory University Hospital. Strict infection control and clinical biosafety practices were implemented to prevent nosocomial transmission of EVD or LF to HCP.
All personnel who entered the SCDU who were required to measure their temperatures and complete a symptom questionnaire twice daily were eligible.
No employee developed symptomatic EVD or LF. EVD and LF antibody studies were performed on sera samples from 42 HCP. The 6 participants who had received investigational vaccination with a chimpanzee adenovirus type 3 vectored Ebola glycoprotein vaccine had high antibody titers to Ebola glycoprotein, but none had a response to Ebola nucleoprotein or VP40, or a response to LF antigens.
Patients infected with filoviruses and arenaviruses can be managed successfully without causing occupation-related symptomatic or asymptomatic infections. Meticulous attention to infection control and clinical biosafety practices by highly motivated, trained staff is critical to the safe care of patients with an infection from a special pathogen.
To identify ways that the built environment may support or disrupt safe doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in biocontainment units (BCU).
We observed interactions between healthcare workers (HCWs) and the built environment during 41 simulated PPE donning and doffing exercises.
The BCUs of 4 Ebola treatment facilities and 1 high-fidelity BCU mockup.
A total of 64 HCWs (41 doffing HCWs and 15 trained observers) participated in this study.
In each facility, we observed how the physical environment influences risky behaviors by the HCW. The environmental design impeded communication between trained observers (TOs) and HCWs because of limited window size or visual obstructions with louvers, which allowed unobserved errors. The size and configuration of the doffing area impacted HCW adherence to protocol, and lack of clear demarcation of zones resulted in HCWs inadvertently leaving the doffing area and stepping back into the contaminated areas. Lack of standard location for items resulted in equipment and supplies frequently shifting positions. Finally, different solutions for maintaining balance while removing shoe covers (ie, chair, hand grips, and step stool) had variable success. We identified the 5 key requirements that doffing areas must achieve to support safe doffing of PPE, and we developed a matrix of proposed design strategies that can be implemented to meet those requirements.
Simple, low-cost environmental design interventions can provide structure to support and improve HCW safety in BCUs. These interventions should be implemented in both current and future BCUs.
To describe current Ebola treatment center (ETC) locations, their capacity to care for Ebola virus disease patients, and infection control infrastructure features.
A 19-question survey was distributed electronically in April 2015. Responses were collected via email by June 2015 and analyzed in an electronic spreadsheet.
The survey was sent to and completed by site representatives of each ETC.
The survey was sent to all 55 ETCs; 47 (85%) responded.
Of the 47 responding ETCs, there are 84 isolation beds available for adults and 91 for children; of these pediatric beds, 35 (38%) are in children’s hospitals. In total, the simultaneous capacity of the 47 reporting ETCs is 121 beds. On the basis of the current US census, there are 0.38 beds per million population. Most ETCs have negative pressure isolation rooms, anterooms, and a process for category A waste sterilization, although only 11 facilities (23%) have the capability to sterilize infectious waste on site.
Facilities developed ETCs on the basis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, but specific capabilities are not mandated at this present time. Owing to the complex and costly nature of Ebola virus disease treatment and variability in capabilities from facility to facility, in conjunction with the lack of regulations, nationwide capacity in specialized facilities is limited. Further assessments should determine whether ETCs can adapt to safely manage other highly infectious disease threats.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(3):313–318
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