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September 13 Update

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09.13.2014

Over the past several weeks the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa has frequented the headlines. Below you’ll find a summary of current recommendations based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and others. We will keep you informed of any changes in the recommendations.

  • While the current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak is the largest recorded, it remains confined to four countries in West Africa. As of this date there have been NO reported cases originating in the US.
  • EVD is a hemorrhagic fever disease that initially presents with non-specific symptoms including fever, chills, muscle ache, loss of strength, and general malaise. As the disease progresses patients may develop a high fever, maculopapular rash (flat red rash with small papules or bumps), diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
  • EVD is transmitted through direct contact with blood or body fluids of an individual who is SICK with the disease, and has not been shown to live long outside of the body; asymptomatic individuals cannot transmit the disease.
  • The primary and most effective way to avoid contracting EVD is to scrupulously follow blood and body fluid precautions as we would with any patient. These include:
    • Perform hand hygiene before and after contact of ANY patient (as always).
    • Wear personal protective equipment as appropriate to the patient’s presentation.
    • Exercise care when handling sharps; immediately place in sharps containers.
    • Follow appropriate procedures when handling linens, disposables, and medical equipment that has been contaminated by blood and/or body fluids. Disinfect the ambulance according to policy.
  • At the present time widespread screening of patients for typical symptoms, exposure, or travel history is not warranted given the absence of new cases within North America. However, it may be (or become) necessary in specific communities based on epidemiologic data. We will update those communities with specific instructions when the need arises.

We will provide regular updates in the coming weeks, and encourage you to check the CDC website should you desire more in-depth information. We’ve provided the link to the CDC EMS recommendations below; please note that their specific PSAP and EMS recommendations are for “when state and local EMS authorities consider the threat to be elevated (based on information provided by local, state, and federal public health authorities, including the city or county health department(s), state health department(s), and the CDC)…”, not for current operations.


If you have additional questions please feel free to contact Scott Bourn at Scott.Bourn@amr.net. Thank you.

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/interim-guidance-emergency-medical-services-systems-911-public-safety-answering-points-management-patients-known-suspected-united-states.html

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