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What Travel Nurses Should Know About Ebola

What travel nurses should know about EbolaOur travel nurses’ safety is always a top priority for us. Given the recent concern about Ebola, we want to make sure that you have the necessary tools and information to remain safe and healthy.

The following information comes from the CDC. We encourage you to become familiar with these guidelines. While on assignment, it is also important to become familiar with and follow the facility’s infection-control plans. Your participation in the facility’s training sessions will help ensure your safety and the safety of those you serve.

For the most up-to-date procedures and news on Ebola, visit the CDC’s dedicated Ebola website.

About Ebola

Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Transmission

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with:

  • Blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • Objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • Infected animals

For more information about Ebola transmission, click here.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

For more information about Ebola signs and symptoms, click here.

Healthcare Workers: Prevention and Protection

It is important to become familiar with and follow the facility’s infection-control plans. Your participation in the facility’s training sessions will help ensure your safety and the safety of those you serve.

The CDC maintains and updates detailed Ebola-related guidelines, including infection prevention and evaluation checklists for returned travelers and U.S. patients. For a complete list of information for healthcare workers, click here.

According to the CDC, healthcare workers who may be exposed to people with Ebola should follow these steps:

  • Wear protective clothing, including: gowns (fluid resistant or impermeable), masks, gloves, shoe covers, eye protection (face shield or goggles), and N95 respirators (during aerosol-generating procedures).
  • Use the “buddy system” for putting on and removing personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Practice proper infection control and sterilization measures.
  • Isolate patients with Ebola from other patients.
  • Avoid direct contact with the bodies of people who have died from Ebola.
  • Immediately notify your facility supervisor if you have had direct contact with the blood or body fluids, such as but not limited to, feces, saliva, urine, vomit, and semen of a person who is sick with Ebola.

Note: These guidelines are subject to change. Visit the CDC’s website for the most current Ebola-related policies, procedures and best practices.

About the author

Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a communication professional with experience writing for the healthcare and entertainment industries as well as local government. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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