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CDC Releases Updated Ebola Laboratory Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance Feb. 2 for clinical laboratories regarding minimizing risk to laboratory personnel during the management and testing of routine clinical specimens for Ebola. The CDC recommends testing for Ebola only when patients show consistent signs or symptoms of the disease and have had an epidemiological risk factor, such as virus exposure or contact with a person exhibiting symptoms. The guidance urges clinical laboratories, especially those in designated Ebola treatment hospitals, to ensure timely testing of specimens so as not to delay patient care. The guidance reiterates that specimens that test positive for Ebola in a hospital laboratory must also be tested at the CDC to confirm the diagnosis. Further, hospitals that opt for a commercial Ebola test also should submit specimens to a Laboratory Response Network facility or the CDC. Lastly, the CDC reminds hospitals and clinical laboratories concerned about a patient with potential Ebola virus exposure to contact their local health department or the CDC.

Essential hospitals have been on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak in the United States. Join the association for a Feb. 25 webinar exploring staff and patient difficulties, communications challenges, costs, electronic health record considerations, and maintaining future readiness.

Please contact Beth Feldpush, DrPH, senior vice president of policy and advocacy, at bfeldpush@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0111 with any questions.

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About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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