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March 8, 2019

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  • Be aware that a large outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) is occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
  • Healthcare providers should review signs and symptoms of EVD and their facility’s infection prevention and control processes to safely identify and manage patients with possible EVD and other communicable infections (see CDC link for clinicians and facilities below).
    • Ask about and document international travel histories at initial triage on all patients at every visit.
    • Identify patients who have a fever and other signs and symptoms of infection and might warrant isolation pending further evaluation. Isolate all suspected EVD cases and report suspected cases to Public Health immediately at 206-296-4774.
    • Post contact information in easily visible locations for infection control personnel and the local public health jurisdiction for reporting communicable diseases.
    • Council patients planning to travel to the DRC regarding for EBV and other health protection measures.
  • CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control in U.S. healthcare facilities for patients with confirmed EVD or persons under investigation (PUIs) for EVD are up to date.
    • Review separate PPE guidance for management of clinically stable PUIs and confirmed Ebola cases or clinically unstable PUIs.
    • Use the PPE calculator to determine the appropriate supply of PPE to have available for management of a PUI or confirmed case of EVD.
  • Be familiar with the U.S Regional Treatment Network for Ebola and other special pathogens. Understand your facility's designated role in the network and ensure your facility's ability to serve in that capacity.
    • Healthcare facilities should have established plans for how PUIs or EVD patients are to be managed and referred.
    • The National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) is co-funded by ASPR and CDC. NETEC has additional online resources and a blog, and remains available to provide on-site readiness assessments to hospitals for Ebola and other special pathogens.

On August 1, 2018, the DRC Ministry of Health declared a new outbreak of EVD in the North Kivu (Kiv Nord) and Ituri Provinces. As of March 5, 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 907 cases, including 569 deaths. WHO has not deemed this outbreak a public health event of international concern and advised against the application of travel or trade restrictions. The risk to most travelers and the risk of introduction of cases into the United States is currently considered low at this time. However, it is crucial that healthcare facilities review their protocols and procedures and remain ready to rapidly identify, isolate, and inform Public Health about patients with suspected EVD or other notifiable travel-related communicable diseases.

Self-monitoring for symptoms of EVD is being advised for persons returning from the affected area. Diagnosing EVD soon after infection can be challenging because early symptoms (fatigue, fever, headache and weakness) are also symptoms of other more common infections, including influenza and malaria. EVD should be considered a possible diagnosis for patients with possible exposure to EVD (within 21 days) and symptoms consistent with EVD.