The CDC has been busy over the summer producing interim guidance, and checklists for specific groups, for dealing with the potential introduction of Ebola into the United States. While a large outbreaks are not anticipated in most developed countries, the importation of individual cases – with the potential of limited spread to others – cannot be ignored.
Last night the CDC released two more checklists:
September 26, 2014 - Checklist for Healthcare Coalitions for Ebola Preparedness[PDF - 4 pages]
Since EMS organizations are far more likely to have initial contact with potential Ebola cases, I’ll restrict today’s blog to their checklist. You’ll want to download the entire (6-page) PDF document.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), in addition to other federal, state, and local partners, aim to increase understand ing of Ebola and encourage U.S.-based EMS agencies and systems to prepare for managing patients with Ebola and other infectious diseases. Every EMS agency and system, including those that provide non-emergency and/or inter-facility transport, should ensure that their personnel can detect a person under investigation (PUI) for Ebola, protect themselves so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion. Many of the signs and symptoms of Ebola are non-specific and similar to those of other common infectious diseases such as malaria, which is commonly seen in W est Africa. Transmission of Ebola can be prevented by using appropriate infection control measures.
This checklist is intended to enhance collective preparedness and response by highlighting key areas for EMS personnel to review in preparation for encountering and providing medical care to a person with Ebola. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure the agency is able to help its personnel detect possible Ebola cases, protect those personnel, and respond appropriately.
Now is the time to prepare, as it is possible that individuals infected with Ebola virus in W est Africa may travel to the U.S., develop signs or symptoms of Ebola , and seek medical care from EMS personnel.
EMS agencies, in conjunction with their medical directors, should review infection control policies and procedures and incorporate plans for administrative, environmental, and communication measures.
The checklist format is not intended to set forth mandatory requirements or establish national standards. It is a list of activities that can help each agency prepare. Each agency is different and should adapt this document to meet its specific needs. In this checklist, EMS personnel refers to all persons, paid and volunteer who provide pre-hospital emergency medical services and have the potential for direct contact exposure (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with an Ebola patient’s blood or body fluids, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, or contaminated environmental surfaces.
This detailed checklist for EMS is part of a suite of HHS checklists. This guidance is only for EMS agencies and systems; the CDC’s Interim guidance for EMS includes information for individual providers and for 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points.
For additional guidance on Ebola for healthcare settings, the CDC has put together an impressive list of documents which may be accessed at: