News Guide: Officials review Ebola procedures
The Associated Press
Oct. 14, 2014
Federal health officials launched a review of procedures for treating infected Ebola patients Monday, while the World Health Organization called the outbreak "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times."
In Texas, medical records showed that a 26-year-old nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a dying Liberian man repeatedly visited his room from the day he was placed in intensive care until the day before he died.
A look at the top Ebola developments worldwide:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention planned to investigate how the nurse was infected, including how the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital took off protective gear, because removing it incorrectly can lead to contamination. Investigators will also look at dialysis and intubation — the insertion of a breathing tube in a patient's airway. Both procedures have the potential to spread the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the CDC is also examining procedures such as dialysis to see how much they heighten the risk of health care workers contracting Ebola. In cases where a patient cannot be saved, he suggested such high-risk procedures should not be done.
Nurse Nina Pham was among about 70 hospital staffers who were involved in Thomas Eric Duncan's care after he was hospitalized, according to the records provided to The Associated Press.
She received a transfusion of plasma from a doctor who survived the virus and was reported in stable condition.
THE SITUATION IN LIBERIA
In Liberia, at the center of the epidemic, health workers reported for duty at hospitals, largely defying calls for a strike that could have further hampered the country's ability to respond to the epidemic. Nurses and other health workers — though not doctors — had threatened to strike if they did not receive the higher hazard pay they had been promised by the government.
NEBRASKA PATIENT IMPROVES
Hospital and family members said the American video journalist being treated for Ebola in Nebraska is showing signs of improvement.
Dr. Mitchell Levy told The Associated Press on Monday that his son, 33-year-old Ashoka Mukpo, has been improving and currently has no nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Mukpo contracted Ebola in West Africa. He arrived at Nebraska Medical Center on Oct. 6 after being flown back to the U.S. to be treated at the Omaha hospital's specialized unit.
Mukpo is eating food and drinking liquids and conversing with staff, said Shelly Schwedhelm, nursing director of the unit.
Over the weekend, New York's Kennedy Airport began checking some arriving passengers for fever. Passengers traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea are to be screened using no-touch thermometers. Over the next week, the screenings will expand to Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O'Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. Together, those airports receive more than 90 percent of passengers from the three nations.
THE HUNT FOR A CURE
There are no approved medications for Ebola, so doctors have tried experimental treatments, including drugs and blood transfusions from Ebola survivors.
An experimental Canadian-made Ebola vaccine that has shown promise in tests on primates is beginning clinical trials on humans in the U.S. The vaccine was to be tested on healthy individuals Monday to see whether there are side effects and what the proper dosage is, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said.
A possible Ebola vaccine developed by the U.S. government is being tested on up to 40 medical workers in the West African nation of Mali, which shares a border with Guinea. If safety tests go well, larger trials could be done in the outbreak zone early next year.