October 07, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Infectious Diseases Public Health
The first case of Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) diagnosed in the United States was laboratory-confirmed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 30, 2014, in a person who had traveled from Liberia to Dallas, Texas. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is urging all health care professionals to assist in our country’s response to the Ebola outbreak and to be ready and aware to help control the spread of Ebola domestically.
Early recognition is critical to controlling the spread of Ebola virus. Specifically, physicians should be ready to:
- Detect: Ask All Patients with Non-Specific Complaints About Recent Travel
A travel history should be taken as early as possible in your encounter with all patients. Although the signs and symptoms of Ebola are nonspecific (e.g., fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.), Ebola can be virtually eliminated from your differential by ruling out travel to the affected area.
- Protect: Use Good Infection Control Practices
Consistent and correct use of personal protective equipment, frequent hand washing and proper decontamination of surfaces and equipment are key to reducing or eliminating the transmission of Ebola and other communicable diseases (e.g., HIV, influenza, hepatitis, and Enterovirus-D68).
- Respond: Have a Plan
All health care workers should know what to do when encountering a suspected Ebola patient. It is critical to know who to notify and to make that notification immediately. Remember, Ebola is a nationally notifiable disease. All persons suspected of having Ebola should be reported immediately to your local public health department.
Webinar Recording Available on Ebola Preparedness
A recording of a recent webinar hosted by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and CDC on Ebola preparedness for the U.S. health care system is now available for on-demand playback. The webinar focused on the CDC's Detailed Hospital Checklist for Ebola Preparedness, which highlights the activities that all hospitals can take to prepare for the possibility of a patient exposed to Ebola arriving for medical care. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure hospitals can detect possible Ebola cases, protect their employees, and respond appropriately.
For the most updated information guidance documents on the 2014 Ebola outbreak and response, visit the CDC Ebola website. See the California Department of Public Health website for additional information, including laboratory testing and California-specific reporting requirements. In addition, the CDC Emergency Operations Center is always available at (770) 488-7100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.