The Ebola outbreak has been responsible for the tragic death of 236 healthcare workers such as doctors and nurses who were treating patients in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
WHO statistics of confirmed and probable/suspected Ebola-related fatalities through mid-October indicate that 96 healthcare workers died from Ebola in Liberia, 95 in Sierra Leone, 40 in Guinea, and five in Nigeria. Overall, more than 400 healthcare professionals have been infected with the virus, which suggest that the mortality rate from the disease in those instances could be 50 percent or more.
“WHO is undertaking extensive investigations to determine the cause of infection in each case. Early indications are that a substantial proportion of infections occurred outside the context of Ebola treatment and care Infection prevention and control quality assurance checks are now underway at every Ebola treatment unit in the three intense transmission countries,” the organization’s October 15 Situation Report explained.
WHO also noted that it is sending more personal protective gear to Ebola treatment facilities in West Africa.
Nurses are especially in danger from the Eobola virus in this scenario, The Advisory Board added.
“Ebola does not spread easily through casual contact, but health care workers tend to have a lot of contact with the bodily fluids of Ebola patients, which transmit the virus. Care providers–especially nurses–treating patients at the end of their lives face an especially high risk because the virus replicates more rapidly as the disease progresses, according to Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine in Houston. Indeed, the three nurses to contract Ebola outside Africa all did so while caring for dying patients. By comparison, physicians treating patients in the ED would be less likely to become infected–despite fewer precautions–because patients in the early stages are not as infectious.”
Doctors Without Borders reportedly has lost nine staffers out of 16 who have contracted Ebola.
“Caring for Ebola patients is complicated; the patients are highly acute and need constant monitoring from health care staff. But to do so, doctors and nurses must undertake comprehensive protections to ensure that fluids expelled by Ebola patients don’t touch their skin or get accidentally ingested,” Forbes explained.
Separately, the roommate of Kaci Hickox allegedly has signs of Ebola. Hickox is the Maine nurse who has made headlines fighting against the Ebola quarantine after returning from Sierra Leone. An official with the Maine Centers For Disease Control stated that “[t]he respondent’s roommate in Africa became infected without knowing how she became infected with Ebola. (Any potential risk to respondent from that incident has passed),” WGAM reported.
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