CDC Releases New Infection Control Guidelines

The new guidelines will calm nervous healthcare workers, but extra guidance is needed to calm public Ebola hysteria.

The chances of an Ebola case presenting at your physician office is slim to none. But it’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected. The recent death of Ebola victim Thomas Duncun, and the two subsequently infected nurses who treated Duncun at Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to devise more stringent guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) used by U.S. healthcare workers.

The CDC recommends three principles for PPE:

  1. All healthcare workers undergo rigorous training and are practiced and competent with PPE, including taking it on and off in a systemic manner;
  2. No skin exposure when PPE is worn; and
  3. All workers are supervised by a trained monitor who watches each worker taking PPE on and off.

Prevention Activities

Additionally, CDC warns healthcare workers the PPE is only one aspect of infection control. Healthcare settings should also:

  • Conduct prompt screening and triage of potential patients;
  • Designate site managers to ensure proper implementation of precautions;
  • Limit personnel in isolation rooms; and
  • Conduct effective environmental cleaning.

Part of initial screening, the CDC says, should include taking a detailed travel and exposure history with patients who exhibit fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and/or unexplained hemorrhage.

Keep Calm and Care On

What the CDC doesn’t provide guidance for is how to control hysteria in the community. This is cold and flu season, and most of the symptoms of Ebola are similar to a bout of flu. Physician offices are likely to see a lot of worried folks in the coming months. A staff well educated on Ebola and infectious disease protocol will stem the tide of fear.

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Renee Dustman

Renee Dustman

Renee Dustman is executive editor at AAPC. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and a long history of writing just about anything for just about every kind of publication there is or ever has been. She’s also worked in production management for print media, and continues to dabble in graphic design.
Renee Dustman

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Renee Dustman is executive editor at AAPC. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and a long history of writing just about anything for just about every kind of publication there is or ever has been. She’s also worked in production management for print media, and continues to dabble in graphic design.

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