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Doctors worldwide should stay current on developments in ongoing Ebola epidemic

Date:
August 18, 2014
Source:
Emory Health Sciences
Summary:
Doctors in hospitals and emergency rooms around the world should be prepared to recognize Ebola virus infection and isolate patients if necessary, infectious disease specialists recommend. However, concerns that Ebola will spread beyond West Africa to Europe and North America are unfounded because of the way Ebola is transmitted and because of highly developed hospital infection control practices, some researchers suggest.

Doctors in hospitals and emergency rooms around the world should be prepared to recognize Ebola virus infection and isolate patients if necessary, infectious disease specialists recommend. However, concerns that Ebola will spread beyond West Africa to Europe and North America are unfounded because of the way Ebola is transmitted and because of highly developed hospital infection control practices, they say.

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A description of the virus, the current outbreak and recommendations for management of infected patients appear in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The lead author is Carlos del Rio, MD, chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health and professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at Emory University School of Medicine.

Co-authors, all at Emory University School of Medicine, are Aneesh Mehta, MD, assistant professor of medicine (infectious diseases), G. Marshall Lyon, MD, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases), Jeannette Guarner, MD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. Lyon and Mehta are part of the team caring for two Ebola patients now at Emory University Hospital.

The authors review the history and ecology of the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the symptoms and pathology of Ebola infection, effective infection control measures and the development of experimental treatments.

The current outbreak is the largest ever and presents an "unprecedented" challenge to West African countries primarily because of their fragile health care infrastructure there, the authors write.

Public concern has grown over the possibility that Ebola can spread, via international air travel, beyond West Africa to places like Europe and North America. The authors compare the current wave of public concern about Ebola to the recent appearance of the mosquito-borne virus Chikungunya in the United States.

"Such concerns are unfounded as Ebola, unlike Chikungunya, is not transmitted by a vector [ie, mosquitos] and, while highly infectious, is only acquired by direct contact with infected secretions," they write. "Even if cases are imported, the likelihood of further transmission beyond the index patient is close to zero as hospital infection control practices in existence in hospitals in developed countries are a very effective barrier."

"However, clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms worldwide should be prepared to immediately isolate any patient who has a recent history (< 3 weeks) of travel to West Africa and presents with compatible signs and symptoms."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Emory Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carlos del Rio, Aneesh K. Mehta, G. Marshall Lyon III, Jeannette Guarner. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in 2014: The Tale of an Evolving Epidemic. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.7326/M14-1880

Cite This Page:

Emory Health Sciences. "Doctors worldwide should stay current on developments in ongoing Ebola epidemic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140818204111.htm>.
Emory Health Sciences. (2014, August 18). Doctors worldwide should stay current on developments in ongoing Ebola epidemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140818204111.htm
Emory Health Sciences. "Doctors worldwide should stay current on developments in ongoing Ebola epidemic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140818204111.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

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