Confirmation of the first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States pushed infection prevention and emergency preparedness to front-page news yet again.
During a call with reporters yesterday (here's the audio), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., said that public health officials want to ensure that any patient who is stricken with the disease is "immediately isolated and that we do the tried-and-true core public health interventions that stop the spread of Ebola."
The patient, who is in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, returned Sept. 20 from a trip to Liberia and didn’t show any symptoms until Sept. 24, Frieden said. On Sept. 26, the patient sought care and was placed in isolation two days later. The CDC tested samples and yesterday confirmed the diagnosis.
Since the Ebola epidemic first emerged in Africa earlier this year, the CDC has posted a slew of resources for public health and hospital leaders on its website, including a detailed hospital checklist and EMS preparedness checklist.
Here are some additional sites that may prove valuable:
- APIC: Resources on Ebola Virus Disease
- The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America: Ebola infection control resources
- WHO: Ebola resources
- AHA: Ebola resources
I doubt that anyone expects the case in Dallas to lead to a West Africa-like spread of the disease, but it is certainly a vivid reminder that U.S. hospitals need to be vigilant about following strong infection prevention protocols.
"Ultimately, we are all connected by the air we breathe," Frieden said.