Ebola and Infection Control

What you need to Know about Ebola

Proper hand washing is CRITICAL to the prevention of infection (and Ebola)!

Proper hand washing is CRITICAL to the prevention of infection (and Ebola)!

With the Ebola Virus making headlines again, now seems like a good time to discuss transmission based knowledge of Ebola and the easy ways to stop it’s spread. Of course, it’s important to mention that the US is, currently, not at risk of EVD spreading. These infection control reminders are good to be aware of in all health care settings.

EVD Transmission

Ebola is spread in a similar way to HIV. The World Health Organization (WHO) has this to say about transmission:

“Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.”

Transmission of Ebola to healthcare workers happens when infection control practices are not strictly upheld.

Ebola and Infection Control for Healthcare Providers

As a healthcare provider, what can you do to prevent the spread of EVD? It’s actually quite simple and, if you practice your standard precautions, you may be already doing it! Keep in mind that the risk of Ebola spreading in the US is almost null.

1. Wash your hands!  You know how to do it the right way, so do it! Lather for, at least, 20 seconds and make sure you get all those surfaces.

2. Practice respiratory hygiene. Cover when you cough, use PPE when needed.

3. If you know you will be in close contact with someone with Ebola then you know it’s time to suit up. A mask, eye protection, gown and gloves are standard when working with EVD patients.

4. Safely dispose of everything. Follow proper disposal for sharps, biohazard and anything else in contact with blood or bodily fluids. Biohazard

Are we at Risk?

In the US, we are extremely low risk and we shouldn’t be concerned about contracting Ebola. Our concerns should be global and not a fear of dying from EVD ourselves. In actuality, Ebola is already in the US.  It has been in our laboratories for years as we work on vaccines and cures.

Art Reingold, the head of epidemiology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health lends this perspective; “More people die of diarrhea in a day than Ebola has killed in history.”

Because washing hands and infection control procedures are so important, we include them in every DVD package we offer at Occupational Training Solutions.

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