Thursday, October 02, 2014

Ebola Virus Disease: Essential Public Health Principles for Clinicians

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has become a health emergency of international concern. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed guidance to educate and inform healthcare workers and travelers worldwide. Symptoms of EVD include abrupt onset of fever, myalgias, and headache in the early phase, followed by vomiting, diarrhea and possible progression to hemorrhagic rash, life threatening bleeding, and multi-organ failure in the later phase. The disease is not transmitted via airborne spread like influenza, but rather from person-to-person, or animal to person via direct contact with bodily fluids or blood. It is crucial that emergency physicians are well educated on disease presentation and how to generate a timely and accurate differential diagnosis that includes exotic diseases in the appropriate patient population. A patient should be evaluated for EVD with suggestive symptoms including unexplained hemorrhage; AND risk factors within 3 weeks prior, such as travel to an endemic area, direct handling of animals from outbreak areas, or ingestion of fruit or other uncooked foods contaminated with bat feces containing the virus. There are experimental therapies for treatment of the virus; however the mainstay of therapy is supportive care. Emergency department personnel on the frontlines must be prepared to rapidly identify and isolate febrile travelers if indicated. All healthcare workers involved in their care should wear personal protective equipment. Despite the intense media focus on EVD rather than other threats, emergency physicians must master and follow essential public health principles for management of all infectious diseases. This includes not only identification and treatment of individuals, but also protection of healthcare workers and prevention of spread, keeping in mind the possibility of other more common disease processes.
Source:  Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, Articles In Press [via eScholarship Repository]

Download full pdf publication | Read more about this article on eScholarship site

No comments: