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15 10 2014

Ebola Virus

Ebola is a rare and deadly virus. It takes its name from the Ebola River in the Congo, where the first known case appeared in 1976. This disease is one of the most infectious diseases known to man and has an extremely high mortality rate in comparison to other more commonly considered diseases. Ebola becomes contagious once symptoms develop. It is spread through direct personal contact with body fluids (e.g. urine, saliva, sweat, faeces, vomit, breast milk and semen), with contaminated needles, infected animals or their meat. Symptoms include fever (36.8+ degrees), severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising. The initial cold/flu-like symptoms appear between two and 21 days after infection.

Standard, contact, and droplet precautions are recommended for management of hospitalized patients with known or suspected Ebola virus disease (EVD). Note that this guidance outlines only those measures that are specific for EVD; additional infection control measures might be warranted if an EVD patient has other conditions or illnesses for which other measures are indicated (e.g., tuberculosis, multi-drug resistant organisms, etc.).

Though these recommendations focus on the hospital setting, the recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE) and environmental infection control measures are applicable to any healthcare setting. In this guidance healthcare personnel (HCP) refers all persons, paid and unpaid, working in healthcare settings who have the potential for exposure to patients and/or to infectious materials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, contaminated environmental surfaces, or aerosols generated during certain medical procedures. HCP include, but are not limited to, physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, technicians, emergency medical service personnel, dental personnel, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, autopsy personnel, students and trainees, contractual personnel, home healthcare personnel, and persons not directly involved in patient care (e.g., clerical, dietary, house-keeping, laundry, security, maintenance, billing, chaplains, and volunteers) but potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from HCP and patients. See www.cdc.gov/hicpac/2007IP/2007ip_part2.html#e