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Ebola: Managing Communicable Diseases

The initial transport and management of U.S. health workers back to the states for treatment was an opportunity to test current standards and find improvement opportunities. Health care workers have been treating individuals stricken with communicable diseases for quite some time, but without much focus. The recent Ebola Virus epidemic has exposed new light on the need for consistent protocols.


Communicable disease management requires many considerations, and rigorous implementation, to ensure containment. Common practices include the use of education, personal protective equipment, hygiene practices, infection control precautions, disinfection, and disposal. What became abundantly aware, however, is that these practices were not only inconsistently implemented, but not meticulously adhered to either.


In response to epidemics such as the Ebola virus, it has been recommended that specific facilities and teams are utilized for safe and effective management. This is currently possible near CDC quarantine stations and biocontainment laboratories. Health care professionals are expected to recognize cases of communicable diseases such as Ebola and report these immediately to the CDC for response.


Even if all these measures are followed, there is still an inherent risk in treating patients for communicable disease such as Ebola. After strategizing response teams for 12 years, the initial Ebola cases in the U.S. still revealed flaws in the existing measures. Additional measures are constantly being defined, tested, and implemented to contain the transmission of the Ebola Virus and other communicable diseases.

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