Concerns rise after Dallas health worker gets Ebola
14 October 2014
A "breach of protocol" at a Dallas hospital where Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan was being treated before his death has led to a health care worker being infected with the deadly virus, Associated Press reported.
Fears are now being expressed that other caregivers could potentially be exposed, federal health officials said . Health officials in other areas now share similar concerns.
In Santa Clara County, the health department reported it had spent the past couple of months preparing for the possibility of the deadly virus reaching Silicon Valley. Health officials had examining where patients might be quarantined, working with local hospitals to make sure they had been briefed on the guidelines for handling infectious diseases, and that EMTs and other workers had access to protective equipment.
Dr Sara Cody, the county health officer said last week that preparations were absolutely needed. She added her staff was contacting each hospital in the county with a checklist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure they were ready.
According to county supervisor Ken Yeager, he was "rather stunned at how ill-prepared Dallas was." He was concerned, for instance, that it did not seem like authorities disinfected the ambulance used to transport the first Ebola patient, adding local officials needed to learn from those missteps.
On Sunday, Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made the declaration of ''protocol breach'' at a news conference and called for an investigation into how the unidentified nurse contracted the infection while caring for Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the US who died last week at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Reuters reported.
According to healthcare and infection control experts, hospital staff needed to be coached through the stages of treating an Ebola patient, making sure they had the right safety equipment and knew how to use it properly to prevent infection.
It remained unclear whether the Texas hospital prepared its staff with simulation drills before admitting Duncan, however, according to a recent survey of nurses nationwide few had been briefed on Ebola preparations.
Some experts also questioned the CDC's assertion that any US hospital should be prepared to treat an Ebola patient as the outbreak ravaging West Africa started spreading globally.
They say given the level of training required to do the job safely, US health authorities needed to consider designating a hospital in each region as the go-to facility for Ebola.