Public Release: 

News from Annals of Internal Medicine: Conventional medical centers may be unable to prevent spread of Ebola

American College of Physicians

1. Conventional medical centers may be unable to prevent spread of Ebola

A group of infectious disease experts suggests that conventional U.S. medical centers are unprepared and ill equipped to manage Ebola and a national network of specialized containment and treatment facilities may be needed to reduce the virus' spread, according to an article being published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Despite efforts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prepare hospitals for Ebola, enormous challenges remain. The authors express doubt that conventional settings can adequately prepare and train staff to meet the challenge of a virus that requires significant attention to every detail of care from the safe donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to waste disposal. With no margin for error, policies and procedures must be reinforced through repetitious training. This level of readiness may be more than traditional medical centers are equipped to handle. Since very few high-level biocontainment patient facilities exist in the U.S. today, the authors foresee a need for a network of strategically located regional referral centers to which Ebola patients could be transferred for a higher level of care. In the meantime, U.S. medical centers should be meticulously planning and training to care for Ebola patients.

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