US tightens Ebola procedures for health workers

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US tightens Ebola procedures for health workers

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The US is tightening its procedures for health workers treating Ebola patients, to ensure that they wear protective gear correctly and avoid possible infection.

The new guidelines come as 43 people who were exposed to the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in America were given the all clear – though two Texas nurses who treated him did contract the disease.

From now on, Ebola healthcare workers must undergo special training and demonstrate competency in using protective equipment.

“The greatest risk in Ebola care is in the taking off of whatever equipment a health care worker has on, whether there is skin exposed or not, and one of the critical aspects of these guidelines is a very structured way of doing that step by step which is supervised and in a way ritualised so that it is done the same way each time with standardised equipment,” said Dr Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Old guidelines based on World Health Organisation protocols said health workers should wear masks or goggles but allowed some skin exposure.

Now they say no parts of the skin should be exposed.

Later this week 30 military medical staff are to begin special training to be able to deal with possible Ebola cases in the US.