Tag: Guidance

The Czar of Ebola


Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 7.54.38 AM

As every American now knows, Ebola is a horrible African hemorrhagic fever with a high mortality rate and relatively low risk of transmission, except in cases where the disease is transmitted, where the risk of transmission is very high.

The disease has infected 8,000 people in West Africa. WHO officials predict that up to 1.5 million people could be infected by the end of January 2015.

In the United States Two people are known to have been infected with the disease.  Both are nurses.  Their names are Nina Pham an Amber Joy Vinson.

We now have an Ebola Czar to educate us about these facts and others as they become available.

Facing criticism from Congress this week over the handling of the crisis, President Obama named Ron Klain, a former chief of staff for vice president Joe Biden and Washington loyalist.  Critics wanted either somebody with a medical backround or experience handling infectious diseases. Until yesterday, Klain worked for Steve Case.

Technically, of course Klain is not a czar, although almost everybody will call him by that title. His technical title is Federal Ebola Response Coordinator.

“He is smart, aggressive, and levelheaded; exactly the qualities we need in a czar to steer our response to Ebola,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.).

“By appointing a Democrat political operative as the Ebola czar, it is clear that the president sees Ebola as a political crisis and not a health crisis,” said one critic, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R., La.).

Continue reading…

Update on CDC Guidelines on Ebola Specimen Handling + Lab Testing

In response to several reader questions on the CDC post on safe handling of Ebola and recommended lab procedures, the CDC got back to us with this update:

In the Ebola guidance for healthcare workers and specifically for Specimen Handling for Routine Laboratory Testing  of  persons under investigation (PUI) for Ebola disease , CDC reminds all laboratory personnel to consider all blood and body fluids as potentially infectious.  The guidance further informs laboratory personnel that strict adherence to the OSHA bloodborne pathogen regulations and Standard Precautions protects laboratory workers from bloodborne pathogens, including Ebola. In this guidance, emphasis is placed on the OSHA regulation’s requirement for performance of site-specific risk assessments.  These assessments should consider the path of the sample throughout the laboratory, including all work processes and procedures, to identify potential exposure risks and to mitigate the risks by implementing engineering controls, administrative controls (including work practices), and appropriate PPE to protect laboratory personnel.  Implementation of these recommendations requires that there is designated staff that is trained, competent, and confident in performing risk assessments within their laboratories.

Continue reading…