The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) says it is concerned by recent confirmation of Ebola contracted by a healthcare worker treating an Ebola patient at Texas Presbyterian Hospital.
SHEA believes that the current Ebola epidemic illustrates the need for increased funding for hospital epidemiology and infection prevention programs worldwide. Because Ebola transmission risk is highest during severe illness, transmission of Ebola to caregivers has been a major feature of most prior Ebola outbreaks. Increased resources for infection prevention programs will improve response not only to Ebola but to countless other infectious diseases and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) that threaten our patients and healthcare workers. The complexity of ensuring 100 percent adherence to infection control practices, particularly around personal protective equipment (PPE), points to the need for improved training of healthcare workers across all practice settings.
“A robust infection prevention program, led by a physician with advanced training in infectious diseases, is essential for patient safety,” says Daniel Diekema, MD, SHEA board of trustees president. “Dedicated funding at the hospital, state and national levels for infection prevention programs helps protect patients and healthcare workers from both Ebola and other healthcare-associated infections.”
SHEA has created a webpage outlining the key resources available on Ebola: http://www.shea-online.org/View/ArticleId/301/Ebola-Infection-Control-Resources.aspx.