Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

 
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It's vital for nurses to stay well-informed about Ebola virus disease (EVD) in order to care for patients, and educate our patients and the public with the proper information. The most at-risk people for Ebola during an outbreak are healthcare workers and those in close contact with infected individuals. It is therefore critical that, for our own safety as well as that of our patients, we are aware of current guidelines for personal protective equipment. Please use the information on this page from the CDC and WHO to educate yourself and others about this Ebola virus disease.


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KEY FACTS

  • Symptoms of EVD include:
    • fever
    • headache
    • joint and muscle aches
    • weakness
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • stomach pain
    • lack of appetite
    • abnormal bleeding
  • Other symptoms can include rash, red eyes, hiccups, cough, sore throat, chest pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and internal or external bleeding.
  • Symptoms of EVD can appear from two to 21 days after exposure, though eight to ten days is common.
  • An individual without symptoms is NOT contagious.
  • EVD is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids or exposure via contaminated needles. It is not transmitted through water, air, or food.
  • Diagnosis is difficult because early symptoms are nonspecific. If EVD is suspected, laboratory testing includes ELISA, IgM ELISA, PCR, virus isolation, and IgM and IgG antibodies (used later in the course of EVD).
  • Treatment of EVD involves supportive therapy related to maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, oxygenation, blood pressure support, and treating complications.
 

CDC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MANAGING PATIENTS IN THE U.S.

Be alert for EVD in patients with fever of 38.6 degrees Celsius (101.5 degrees Fahrenheit); symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained hemorrhage; and risk factors within the past 3 weeks (travel history to affected countries, exposure to individual with EVD, or direct handling of bats, rodents, or primates from disease-endemic countries). 
  • EVD patients should be isolated in a private room with standard, contact, and droplet precautions in place.
  • The CDC has specific recommendations related to infection prevention and control, including the use of the following personal protective equipment (PPE):
    • Double gloves
    • Waterproof boot covers that go to at least mid-calf or waterproof leg covers
    • Single use fluid resistant or imperable gown that extends to at least mid-calf  or coverall without intergraded hood.
    • Respirators, including either N95 respirators or powered air purifying respirator (PAPR)
    • Single-use, full-face shield that is disposable
    • Surgical hoods to ensure complete coverage of the head and neck
    • Apron that is waterproof and covers the torso to the level of the mid-calf should be used if Ebola patients have vomiting or diarrhea
  • Visitors should be restricted. Exceptions may be considered on an individual basis, and then visitors should be trained and a logbook kept of all who enter the room
 

Related Reading

Ebola Preparedness in the Netherlands: The Need for Coordination Between the Public Health and the Curative Sector
Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, January/February 2018

Local Health Departments Tweeting About Ebola: Characteristics and Messaging
Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, March/April 2017

NewsCAP: A new vaccine against Ebola may be effective and safe to use in an outbreak
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, March 2017

Putting the Law Into Practice: A Comparison of Isolation and Quarantine As Tools to Control Tuberculosis and Ebola
Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, March/April 2017

Ebola: Looking Back on a Crisis and a Calling
Journal of Christian Nursing, July/September 2016

A Comparison of Personal Protective Standards: Caring for Patients With Ebola Virus
Clinical Nurse Specialist: The Journal for Advanced Nursing Practice, March/April 2016

Ebola in West Africa: A nurse's perspective
Nursing2016, January 2016

Reflecting on the Ebola Epidemic: What If?
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, December 2015

CE Inside an Ebola Treatment Unit: A Nurse's Report 
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, December 2015

A Comparison of Personal Protective Standards: Caring for Patients With Ebola Virus
Clinical Nurse Specialist: The Journal for Advanced Nursing Practice, March/April 2016


Ebola: Are We Better Prepared Today?
NursingCenter's In The Round, October 2015


A Nurse's Obligations to Patients with Ebola
Nursing2015, November 2015


Nurses’ Perceptions on Ebola Care in the United States, Part 2: A Qualitative Analysis
JONA: Journal of Nursing Administration, November 2015


US Nurses’ Perceptions Regarding Caring for Suspected, Probable, and Confirmed Ebola Virus Disease Patients, Part 1: A Quantitative Analysis
JONA: Journal of Nursing Administration, October 2015


Living Under the Constant Threat of Ebola: A Phenomenological Study of Survivors and Family Caregivers During an Ebola Outbreak
The Journal of Nursing Research, September 2015


Ebola at the National Institutes of Health: Perspectives From Critical Care Nurses
AACN Advanced Critical Care, September 2015 


The Rise of Ebola Educational Resources
Nurse Educator, June 2015


Ebola Virus Disease
Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal, April/June 2015


Ebola Preparedness
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, May 2015


Ebola Outbreak 2013–2014: A Rational Examination for the Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical Nurse Specialist: The Journal for Advanced Nursing Practice, April 2015


Management of the Individual in the Home Suspected of Having Exposure to the Ebola Virus 
Home Healthcare Now, April 2015


Ebola virus disease: Managing a practice challenge with evidence
Nursing Management, February 2015


Ebola among us
Nursing2015, January 2015


Ebola: Caring and concerns
OR Nurse 2015, January 2015


Caring for Patients with Ebola
American Journal of Nursing, December 2014


Our Ebola Wake-Up Call
American Journal of Nursing, December 2014


Ebola: The power of nursing overcomes fear
The Nurse Practitioner, December 2014


Ebola: Are you ready?
Nursing2014 Critical Care, November 2014


Nurse Informaticists Address Texas Ebola Case, EHR Design Questions 
AJN Off the Charts, October 17, 2014


Addressing Nurses’ Urgent Concerns About Ebola and Protective Equipment 
AJN Off the Charts, October 15, 2014


What's Next? Are We Ready? Public Health Testing Its Limits With Global Infectious Disease Threats
Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, December 2014


Ebola Virus Disease: An Emerging Threat
Nursing2014, September 2014


Ebola: A Nurse Epidemiologist Puts the Outbreak in Perspective
AJN Off the Charts, August 2014


Emergency: Mass Casualty: Ebola
AJN, American Journal of Nursing

 

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