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In response to the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designated 56 US hospitals as Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) with high-level isolation capabilities. We aimed to determine ongoing sustainability of ETCs and identify how ETC capabilities have impacted hospital, local, and regional COVID-19 readiness and response.
An electronic survey included both qualitative and quantitative questions and was structured into two sections: operational sustainability and role in the COVID-19 response.
Setting and Participants:
The survey was distributed to site representatives from the 56 originally designated ETCs; 37 (66%) responded.
Data were coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Of the 37 responding ETCs, 33 (89%) reported they were still operating while 4 had decommissioned. ETCs that maintain high-level isolation capabilities incurred a mean of $234,367 in expenses per year. All but one ETC reported that existing capabilities (e.g., trained staff, infrastructure) before COVID-19 positively affected their hospital, local, and regional COVID-19 readiness and response (e.g., ETCs trained staff, donated supplies, and shared developed protocols).
Existing high-level isolation capabilities and expertise developed following the 2014-2016 EVD epidemic were leveraged by ETCs to assist hospital-wide readiness for COVID-19 and support response for other local and regional hospitals However, ETCs face continued challenges in sustaining those capabilities for high-consequence infectious diseases.
In response to the 2013–2016 Ebola virus disease outbreak, the US government designated certain healthcare institutions as Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) to better prepare for future emerging infectious disease outbreaks. This study investigated ETC experiences and critical care policies for patients with viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF).
A 58-item questionnaire elicited information on policies for 9 critical care interventions, factors that limited care provision, and innovations developed to deliver care.
Setting and participants:
The questionnaire was sent to 82 ETCs.
We analyzed ordinal and categorical data pertaining to the ETC characteristics and descriptive data about their policies and perceived challenges. Statistical analyses assessed whether ETCs with experience caring for VHF patients were more likely to have critical care policies than those that did not.
Of the 27 ETCs who responded, 17 (63%) were included. Among them, 8 (47%) reported experience caring for persons under investigation or confirmed cases of VHF. Most felt ready to provide intubation, chest compressions, and renal replacement therapy to these patients. The factors most cited for limiting care were staff safety and clinical futility. Innovations developed to better provide care included increased simulation training and alternative technologies for procedures and communication.
There were broad similarities in critical care policies and limitations among institutions. There were several interventions, namely ECMO and cricothyrotomy, which few institutions felt ready to provide. Future studies could identify obstacles to providing these interventions and explore policy changes after increased experience with novel infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.
Despite lessons learned from the recent Ebola epidemic, attempts to survey and determine non-health care worker, industry-specific needs to address highly infectious diseases have been minimal. The aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) industry is often overlooked in highly infectious disease training and education, even though it is critical to their field due to elevated occupational exposure risk during their operations.
Supervisors perceived Frontline respondents to be more willing and comfortable to encounter potential highly infectious disease scenarios than the Frontline indicated. More than one-third of respondents incorrectly marked transmission routes of viral hemorrhagic fevers. There were discrepancies in self-reports on the existence of highly infectious disease orientation and skills demonstration, employee resources, and personal protective equipment policies, with a range of 7.5%-24.0% more Supervisors than Frontline respondents marking activities as conducted.
There are deficits in highly infectious disease knowledge, skills, and abilities among ARFF members that must be addressed to enhance member safety, health, and well-being. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:675-679)
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
Minimizing healthcare worker exposure to airborne infectious pathogens is an important infection control practice. This study utilized mathematical modeling to evaluate the trajectories and subsequent concentrations of particles following a simulated release in a patient care room.
Biocontainment unit patient care room at a university-affiliated tertiary care medical center.
. Quantitative mathematical modeling of airflow in a patient care room was achieved using a computational fluid dynamics software package. Models were created on the basis of a release of particles from various locations in the room. Computerized particle trajectories were presented in time-lapse fashion over a blueprint of the room. A series of smoke tests were conducted to visually validate the model.
Most particles released from the head of the bed initially rose to the ceiling and then spread across the ceiling and throughout the room. The highest particle concentrations were observed at the head of the bed nearest to the air return vent, and the lowest concentrations were observed at the foot of the bed.
Mathematical modeling provides clinically relevant data on the potential exposure risk in patient care rooms and is applicable in multiple healthcare delivery settings. The information obtained through mathematical modeling could potentially serve as an infection control modality to enhance the protection of healthcare workers.
The objective of this study was to quantify the effectiveness of selected surgical masks in arresting vegetative cells and endospores in an experimental model that simulated contagious patients.
Five commercially available surgical masks were tested for their ability to arrest infectious agents. Surgical masks were placed over the nose and mouth of mannequin head forms (Simulaids adult model Brad CPR torso). The mannequins were retrofitted with a nebulizer attached to an automated breathing simulator calibrated to a tidal volume of 500 mL/breath and a breathing rate of 20 breaths/min, for a minute respiratory volume of 10 L/min. Aerosols of endospores or vegetative cells were generated with a modified microbiological research establishment-type 6-jet collision nebulizer, while air samples were taken with all-glass impinger (AGI-30) samplers downstream of the point source. All experiments were conducted in a horizontal bioaerosol chamber.
Mean arrestance of bioaerosols by the surgical masks ranged from 48% to 68% when the masks were challenged with endospores and from 66% to 76% when they were challenged with vegetative cells. When the arrestance of endospores was evaluated, statistical differences were observed between some pairs, though not all, of the models evaluated. There were no statistically significant differences in arrestance observed between models of surgical masks challenged with vegetative cells.
The arrestance of airborne vegetative cells and endospores by surgical masks worn by simulated contagious patients supports surgical mask use as one of the recommended cough etiquette interventions to limit the transmission of airborne infectious agents.
This study evaluated the efficacy of gaseous chlorine dioxide (ClO2) for extermination of bedbugs (Cimex lectularius and Citnex hemipterus).
Bedbugs have received attention because of recent outbreaks. Bedbug eradication is difficult and often requires a time-consuming multifaceted approach.
Laboratory and hospital room.
Bedbugs were exposed to concentrations of ClO2 of 362, 724, and 1,086 parts per million (ppm) in an exposure chamber. Bedbug mortality was then evaluated. The ability of ClO2 to penetrate various spaces in a hospital room was evaluated using Bacillus atropheus as a surrogate organism.
Concentrations of 1,086 and 724 ppm of ClO2 yielded 100% bedbug mortality assessed immediately after exposure. Live young were not observed for any eggs exposed to ClO2 gas. ClO2 at a concentration of 362 ppm for 1,029 parts per million hours (ppm-hours) achieved 100% mortality 6 hours after exposure. A ClO2 concentration of 362 ppm for 519 ppm-hours had 100% mortality 18 hours after exposure. Up to a 6-log reduction in B. atropheus spores was achieved using similar concentrations of ClO2 in a hospital room, indicating that the concentrations needed to kill bedbugs can be achieved throughout a hospital room.
ClO2 is effective at killing bedbugs in the laboratory, and similar concentrations of ClO2 gas can be achieved in a hospital room. ClO2 can be removed from the room without residuals.
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