Updated 03:48 AM EST, Tue, Nov 30, 2021

Ebola Virus Outbreak 2014 News & Update: Spreads Through Skin & Hair? Stricter Protocols Want Them Covered

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The outbreak of the Ebola virus has spared no one -- even health care practitioners who undeniably possess more knowledge on its transmission. Following the infection of nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, Reuters reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing new health guidelines to upgrade the protection for hospital and healthcare workers.

We have previously reported that Ebola virus spreads primarily through direct contact with bodily fluids. This remains to be true, although additional information is revealed by the new protocol.

U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci informed that health workers will now be told to cover their hair and skin completely. This is an update from the earlier guide which required workers to wear masks -- leaving some areas of their skin exposed. "So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open," the official said.

He added, "Very clearly, when you go into a hospital, have to intubate somebody, have all of the body fluids, you've got to be completely covered. So that's going to be one of the things ... to be complete covering with no skin showing whatsoever."

Hospital workers are also bound to practice getting in and out of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Specifically, a protective gear "with no skin showing" is to be implemented. According to SF Gate, the new protocols will make use of full-body suits, hoods (to avoid exposure of the neck), stricter standards for disinfection and equipment handling through a "site manager."

Based in a single isolation unit, a site manager is tasked to oversee implementation of infection control practices round-the-clock.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is set to provide a medical support team composed of 30 people to civilian health professionals should an additional surge of Ebola cases arrive. The team will be composed of 5 infectious disease doctors, 5 trainers in infectious disease protocols and 20 critical care nurses, said NBC News.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a fact sheet detailing the agency's efforts to rule out Ebola in Dallas, where a wave of Ebola-confirmed cases arose just recently. Following the team of 10 public health professionals sent on Sept. 30 (when the first US-confirmed Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan tested positive), a second team composed of 16 was sent to assist with infection control.

CDC has also announced hosting a live event in New York City on Oct. 21 to educate frontline Ebola health workers. Succeeding webinars and conference calls are also expected.

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