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CDC Releases New Ebola Guidelines      10/21 06:41

   Federal officials are going on the road with new guidelines to promote 
head-to-toe protection for health workers treating Ebola patients.

   ATLANTA (AP) -- Federal officials are going on the road with new guidelines 
to promote head-to-toe protection for health workers treating Ebola patients.

   Officials on Monday night released the advice, which health workers had 
pushed hard for after two Dallas nurses became infected while caring for the 
first person diagnosed with the virus in the United States.

   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials will be demonstrating 
the recommended techniques Tuesday at a massive training at New York City's 
Javits Center, with an expected attendance of thousands.

   The president of a group representing 3 million registered nurses said she's 
glad to finally see better federal advice. Health care workers said the CDC's 
old guidance was confusing and inadequate, and left them fearfully unprepared 
for how to deal with an Ebola patient.

   "Today's guidance moves us forward," said Pamela Cipriano, president of the 
American Nurses Association, in a statement Monday night.

   Demand for new guidance was spurred by the unexpected infections this month 
of the two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. It's not clear exactly 
how they became infected, but clearly there was some kind of problem, CDC 
Director Dr. Tom Frieden said.

   "The bottom line is the guidelines didn't work for that hospital," Frieden 
said, in announcing the revised guidelines Monday evening.

   Earlier CDC guidelines had been modeled on how Ebola patients in Africa were 
treated, though that tends to be less intensive care done in rougher settings 
--- like tents. They also allowed hospitals some flexibility to use available 
covering when dealing with suspected Ebola patients.

   The new guidelines set a firmer standard, calling for full-body garb and 
hoods that protect worker's necks; setting rigorous rules for removal of 
equipment and disinfection of hands; and calling for a "site manager" to 
supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.

   They also call for health workers who may be involved in an Ebola patient's 
care to repeatedly practice and demonstrate proficiency in donning and doffing 
gear --- before ever being allowed near a patient.

   And they ask hospitals to establish designated areas for putting on and 
taking off equipment, whether it's a room adjacent to an Ebola patient's room 
or a hallway area cordoned off with a plastic sheet.

   The CDC cannot require hospitals to follow the guidance; it's merely 
official advice. But these are the rules hospitals are following as they face 
the possibility of encountering patients with a deadly infectious disease that 
a few months ago had never been seen in this country.

   The CDC guidance was expected as early as Saturday, but its release has been 
pushed back while it continues to go through review by experts and government 
officials.

   All this stems from the case of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who came 
down with Ebola symptoms last month while visiting Dallas.

   Duncan went to the hospital Sept. 25 but was not tested for, or diagnosed 
with, Ebola. He returned to the hospital three days later and on Sept. 30 
tested positive. He died Oct. 8.

   Duncan's case led to the monitoring of about 50 people who came in contact 
with him before his second trip to the hospital, and dozens of health care 
workers who cared for him after his admission.

   Some good news this week: The 50 in the initial contact group have passed a 
21-day observation period and no longer are deemed at risk for coming down with 
the dreaded disease.

   Youngor Jallah spent the past three weeks confined to her small apartment 
with her children and boyfriend, fearing they had contracted the deadly Ebola 
virus from Duncan, who was her mother's fiance.

   But with the household emerging symptom-free from the incubation period, 
Jallah's family members are now trying to resume their lives - replacing the 
personal belongings incinerated in a cleanup at her mother's home, and 
overcoming the stigma of the Ebola scare that has gripped Dallas.

   "If they see me at the store, they run away," Jallah told The Associated 
Press on Monday.

   There are now about 120 people in Texas being monitored for symptoms, with 
their wait period ending Nov. 7, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He said the 
number may fluctuate.

   There are also about 140 people being monitored in Ohio because of contact 
or potential contact with nurse Amber Vinson, Ohio officials said. Vinson, who 
cared for Duncan in Texas, flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 and flew 
back Oct. 13.


(KA)


 
 
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