Severe Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak Hits West Africa

By on 8:20 AM

Hemorrhagic viral illnesses, mainly seen in areas of Africa, are nearly always fatal and include Lassa, Marburg and Ebola viruses. There are presently reports of a severe outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and it appears to be one of the most difficult outbreaks to control, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) after holding a press conference in Geneva.

Since February, there have been approximately 150 cases reported, with approximately 90% resulting in death of the patients in Guinea. Other areas have been affected with a high mortality rate as well.

Primary symptoms include fever, myalgias, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, pharyngitis, diffuse rash and kidney/liver failure.

Healthcare workers, family members and those having direct contact with patients are at increased risk for transmission of the virus. Very strict isolation precautions, including contact with secretions, are imperative and highly effective at preventing transmission.

There are no preventative medications or vaccines, nor are there any drugs to treat these viruses, hence the need for strict precautions as these viruses can be prevented from spreading.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.