Ebola: Hospital Epidemiologists in the News

It's been amazingly active week for hospital infection control with adult deaths and paralysis in children linked to Enterovirus 68 and there have also been some issues with Ebola. Practically every Hospital Epidemiologist* has been called upon to explain the transmissibility of Ebola and describe how they've been planning to protect healthcare workers and the community. Of course, I can't possibly list all of the mentions in local, national and international media, but if you have a particular clip that you'd like us to post, let us know.

I've been impressed by the clarity and skill that my SHEA colleagues have demonstrated. For example, earlier today Dan was on Public Radio International (PRI) discussing the difference between the virulence and contagiousness of infections and how it's easy to confuse the two. Specifically he said "In the case of Ebola, it is not true that it is airborne, it's not true that you can catch it just by being in the same room as an infected person. It really does require direct contact." Head on over to PRI, to hear the whole interview.

Kent Sepkowitz was on CNN yesterday describing the contagiousness of Ebola with the money quote: "so the super contagious body compartment is blood and it's blood and it's blood." And one of the stalwarts of hospital epidemiology and mentor to many, Leonard Mermel, was on MSNBC's All in With Chris Hayes tonight describing the well-developed screening algorithm that's been implemented at Rhode Island Hospital. I've added the video below. If you want to jump directly to Len Mermel's discussion, it occurs around 12:00. (apologize for the brief ad)

*A hospital epidemiologist is typically an infectious disease physician specialist who develops infection control plans to protect patients and healthcare workers in clinical settings including acute care hospitals and long term care facilities. During outbreaks the hospital epidemiologist helps identify the source of the infection and determines how best to contain its spread. They educate clinicians about the optimal ways to prevent infections (e.g. hand hygiene), while also tracking the use and misuse of antibiotics and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Other goals include preventing post-operative surgical wound infections and infections associated with central venous catheters. They are each hospital's very own disease detective!


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