The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released infection control guidance for U.S. hospitals in response to the recent Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in West Africa. The guidance outlines treatment and standard, contact, and droplet precautions for patients with the disease. Recommendations are intended specifically for use in the health care setting and will be re-evaluated and updated as needed.
CDC recommends hospitals adhere to the following procedures for patients known or suspected to have the disease:
- Assign the patient to a single room with a closed door.
- Maintain a log of all people entering the patient room.
- Ensure all people entering the patient room wear at least fluid resistant or impermeable gloves, eye protection, and a face mask. Additional protective equipment should be worn as needed.
- Use dedicated, disposable medical equipment to provide patient care when possible—nondedicated, nondisposable equipment should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer and hospital policies.
- Limit the use of needles and other sharp tools, as possible. All tools should be handled with care and disposed of in puncture-proof, sealed containers.
- Limit phlebotomy, procedures, and laboratory testing to the minimum necessary for diagnostic evaluation and the provision of medical care.
- Avoid the use of aerosol generating procedures, including bronchoscopy, intubation and extubation, and open suctioning of airways.
- Ensure health care providers wash hands frequently, including before and after all patient contact.
- Diligently clean, disinfect, and handle all potentially contaminated materials.
- Follow safe injection practices.
- Determine the duration of precautions on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with local, state, and federal health authorities.
- Develop policies for monitoring and managing health care providers potentially exposed to the virus.
- Avoid visitor entry into patient rooms.
CDC’s full list of recommendations is available online.