CDC issues new guidance on protective gear for healthcare workers caring for Ebola patients

Oct. 22, 2014

On October 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines to protect healthcare workers from exposure to the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. From the CDC website:

The following procedures provide detailed guidance on the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used and on the processes for donning and doffing (i.e., putting on and removing) PPE for all healthcare workers entering the room of a patient hospitalized with Ebola virus disease (Ebola). The guidance in this document reflects lessons learned from the recent experiences of U.S. hospitals caring for Ebola patients and emphasizes the importance of training, practice, competence, and observation of healthcare workers in correct donning and doffing of PPE selected by the facility.

This guidance contains the following key principles:

1. Prior to working with Ebola patients, all healthcare workers involved in the care of Ebola patients must have received repeated training and have demonstrated competency in performing all Ebola-related infection control practices and procedures, and specifically in donning/doffing proper PPE.

2. While working in PPE, healthcare workers caring for Ebola patients should have no skin exposed.

3. The overall safe care of Ebola patients in a facility must be overseen by an onsite manager at all times, and each step of every PPE donning/doffing procedure must be supervised by a trained observer to ensure proper completion of established PPE protocols.

In another Ebola development, the White House has announced that all air passengers whose flights originated in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea must fly into one of five U.S. airports: New York’s Kennedy, Newark’s Liberty, Washington, DC’s Dulles, Chicago’s O’Hare, or Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson. Those airports are equipped with enhanced screening, including fever checks with no-touch thermometers. There are no direct flights from the three West African nations to the U.S., but approximately 150 people arrive from those nations each day via connecting flights. Read the latest updates on Ebola from the CDC.

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