Experts Caution Healthcare Workers on How Ebola Protective Gear is Removed
Physical and emotional fatigue are factors in “inadvertent” contamination
Baltimore, MD - A team of American infectious disease and critical care experts is alerting colleagues caring for Ebola patients that how they remove their personal protective gear can be just as crucial as wearing it to prevent exposure to the deadly virus.
In a commentary published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the physician-specialists from Johns Hopkins and the University of North Carolina say rigorous steps exist — and must be taken — to avoid “inadvertent” contact of frontline caregivers’ exposed skin and mucous membranes to infected body fluids.
Personal protective equipment, including goggles or face shields, gloves and gowns, are effectively decreasing West African caregivers’ exposure to infected bodily fluids, but workers are still at risk “if removal of protective clothing that is contaminated with infectious bodily fluids is not done in a manner that prevents exposure,” say the authors, who include Trish M. Perl, M.D., M.S. and Noreen Hynes, M.D., M.P.H., two Johns Hopkins infectious disease experts.
Perl is senior epidemiologist for the Johns Hopkins Health System and a consultant to the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), which is overseeing and coordinating Johns Hopkins’ readiness for any potential Ebola patient. Hynes is the director of the Geographic Medicine Center in the Division of Infectious Diseases. William Fischer II, M.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine also co-authored the commentary. Continue>
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