With Ebola cases rising, officials launch new infection control steps

Sept. 10, 2019
Another healthcare worker in Butembo infected

More Ebola cases were confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), lifting the overall outbreak total to 3,084. One of them involves a healthcare worker in Butembo, putting the number of medical team members infected by the virus to 157, which includes 41 deaths. So far, 5 percent of people infected in the DRC's outbreak have been health workers.

In other developments, the DRC, with support from its global health partners, launched new infection prevention and control (IPC) efforts to curb healthcare-acquired infections, reported University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Diseases and Policy.

Keeping health facilities safe from Ebola

The DRC's health ministry on Sep 5 launched IPC guidelines and training targeting more than 3,000 nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers, according WHO.

In the outbreak region, local people often turn first to local health centers, which aren't as prepared to detect the virus and isolate patients as are Ebola treatment centers. The spread of Ebola to medical staff and among patients has been a persistent problem in the DRC's outbreak.

The new steps by the DRC government are designed to shore up potential weak points and use standard guidelines revised by experts from the health ministry, the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The IPC training package is supported with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK Department for International Development, and the World Bank. It will be rolled out over the next 3 months, beginning in Goma and targeting healthcare workers and others involved in the primary response. The WHO said the efforts will be monitored over the coming year to evaluate the effectiveness of the new steps.