For Ebola Care, Exceeding CDC Recommendations May Actually Increase Transmission Risk
(HealthDay News) – Hospital and health care providers should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for care of patients with Ebola, according to an ideas and opinions piece published online Aug. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Michael Klompas, MD, MPH, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues discuss the need to reconcile official CDC guidance for Ebola with the temptation to maximize precautions that exceed CDC recommendations.
The authors note that the CDC recommendations include placing patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola in a single-patient room and instituting contact and droplet precautions. These recommendations are evidence-based, established by experience with control and prevention of Ebola in other outbreaks. In spite of this guidance, many hospitals are planning to place patients in negative-pressure rooms and compel personnel to wear hazardous material suits. However, Ebola is transmitted via direct contact with patients' bodily fluids; sharing airspace with an infected patient is not a risk factor. Exceeding CDC recommendations may increase transmission risk due to the possibility of self-contamination during the removal of unfamiliar protective equipment. In addition, extra gear increases anxiety levels in patients and caregivers, increases costs, and wastes resources.
"As health care professionals, we strive to provide evidence-based care driven by science rather than by the media or mass hysteria," the authors write. "We need to apply these principles to planning for Ebola as well."