Various guidelines for caring for patients infected with Ebola virus are being issued from different national and state public health authorities, professional societies, and individual hospitals. Experts are questioning aspects of some of the guidelines that go beyond current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, especially those that call for suspending certain routine lab tests.
The authors of a commentary in the journal Transfusion note that most individuals with suspected Ebola virus disease will have a fever due to another cause, and forgoing such testing may compromise patients' health more than any reduction in the risks to laboratory personnel.
The authors also state that it is imperative for all laboratory directors to work with institutional infection control and safety personnel to evaluate their hospital policies on potentially infectious patients in order to provide a safe environment for their patients and employees.
"We are anxious for a balanced, thoughtful discussion of the best way to prepare for the potential of increasing numbers of Ebola suspects across a spectrum of healthcare institutions in the developed world, and believe that the key is recognition of risk and application of well characterized infection prevention and control recommendations," says co-author Dr. Louis Katz. "Suspending aspects of care or automatically transferring patients to other facilities may not be an effective response to the prevention of healthcare-associated transmission if more cases are repatriated than we have seen to date."