Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Infection Control
The EVD is a serious occupational health and safety risk for medical personnel. Several factors explain the high proportion of infected medical personnel, includes shortages of PPE, improper selection and usage of PPE, insufficient medical personnel, long working hours etc. The case fatality rate of Ebola is 50 to 90% which is far higher than 2009 influenza pandemic (0.01%) and SARS (9.6%).
According to CDC, PPE that fully covers skin and clothing is recommended to prevent exposure of eyes, nose, and mouth. This reduces the risk of accidental self-contamination of mucous membranes or broken skin. All PPE used must adhered to infection control program that follows CDC recommendations and Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) requirements. Medical personnel should heighten vigilance, wear standard protective equipment and practice strict infection control, including hand and respiratory hygiene. When entering a ward where a suspected or confirmed case is isolated, advanced PPE such as coveralls, masks, face shields, apron, double gloves, water-proof boot covers are required.
Specifications for Impermeable and Fluid-resistant Gowns and Coveralls
There are sections outline requirements for gown and coverall, but selection of PPE is only part of the EVD infection control program. Impermeable gown and coverall indicate the material and construction have demonstrated resistance to synthetic blood and simulated bloodborne pathogens. Fluid-resistant indicates a gown that has water resistance or a coverall that has water or synthetic blood resistance.