On August 1, 2014, CDC produced interim guidance for infection control in U.S. hospitals for hospital staff caring for Ebola patients. Recommendations included an emphasis on training for the proper use of PPE, application of specific, high-potency disinfectant products, the proper procedure for waste disposal, and the use of single-use, non-porous surfaces and materials in the patient room.
However, healthcare workers lost confidence in the existing standards of protection when two Dallas nurses contracted Ebola from a patient and no one was certain how these nurses became infected. CDC worked quickly to create training on personal protective equipment and infection control for the U.S. On October 20, 2014, CDC published tightened PPE guidelines for U.S. healthcare workers to address any areas of ambiguity. The enhanced guidelines centered on three principles: rigorous training and practice in the competent use of the PPE with specific, detailed instructions on how to safely put it on and take it off; supervision by a person trained to watch and strictly monitor each worker put on and take off the PPE; and no skin exposure when the PPE was worn.
Establishment of the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC)
On July 1, 2015, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and CDC established the on-going National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC). Its purpose is to increase the competency of healthcare and public health workers in the United States and the capacity of hospitals to deliver safe, efficient, and effective care to patients with Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases. NETEC includes experts from Emory University in Atlanta, the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation/Bellevue Hospital Center. With direct experience in safely and successfully caring for Ebola patients in the United States, the institutions work diligently to share their knowledge with other healthcare facilities and public health jurisdictions.
NETEC has performed site visits, conducted education and training, and built special pathogen research networks. It has put standards in place that address long-term healthcare worker and patient safety. Programs have been established to improve links between healthcare-associated infection prevention and federal and local hospital preparedness groups, and between public health jurisdictions and major hospitals regarding emerging infectious threats. NETEC’s continuing work assures confidence in a nationwide response to Ebola or any other future disease threat.
Ebola Training in New York City
More than 5,000 healthcare workers attended the Ebola training at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City on October 21, 2014. In this photo, Barbara Smith, RN (right), Mount Sinai Health Systems, and Bryan Christiansen, PhD, MEPC (left), CDC Infection Control team for the Ebola Response, demonstrate the proper technique for donning and doffing protective gear during an Ebola educational session for healthcare workers.