CDC issues guidelines for First Responders dealing with suspected Ebola patients
Written by Rob Warren on October 16, 2014.
The Center for Disease Control has issued Interim Guidance for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems and 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for Management of Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in the United States. The outbreak originated in West Africa in March of 2014 and has since spread, with one death and two confirmed cases in the United States to date. This morning, Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT confirmed they are monitoring a patient that had traveled to Liberia and is running a fever.
Ebola was discovered in Africa in 1976 and outbreaks in Africa have occurred but this is the first time we've seen Ebola outside of the African continent. Signs and symptoms of the disease include fever greater than 101.5°F, severe headache, muscle pain and weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising. Symptoms may appear from 2 to 21 days after exposure, although the average is 8-10 days. First responders should become familiar with these signs and use proper PPE precautions if they encounter them. PSAPs in areas with increased risk should study the CDC guidelines.
Proper PPE for first responders includes gloves, fluid resistant or impermeable gowns, goggles or a face shield that completely covers front and sides of the face, and a facemask. Other PPE may also be applicable. First Responders should refer to the CDC guidelines for more information.
Shipman’s Fire Equipment is working with their suppliers to provide as much information to their first responder customers as possible. A resource page has been set up at www.shipmans.com/news#ebola with links to the CDC and WHO guidelines as well as links to manufacturer’s pages with information about PPE options available to first responders.