Since the outbreak with the Ebola virus in West African countries the U.S. has been bracing for the worst yet hoping for the best as far as the the virus entering and spreading in the United States. On September 30th the first confirmed case entered the United States, when a man entering Dallas Texas from Liberia was diagnosed. The following diagnosis was just a few short days later from a healthcare worker from Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the first patient. After that, several other cases followed leading United States airlines have stricter monitoring of those entering the country from affected East African Countries. Now the CDC is taking further precautions to protect those in the medical field that are treating a patient diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered $2.7 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) increase Strategic National Stockpile supplies to assist U.S. hospitals caring for Ebola patients. Products are being configured into 50 kits that can be rapidly delivered to hospitals. Each kit can provide the PPE needed by clinical teams to manage the care of one Ebola patient for up to five days.
Products are being configured into 50 kits that can be rapidly delivered to hospitals. Each kit can provide the PPE needed by clinical teams to manage the care of one Ebola patient for up to five days.
Purchases are based on PPE guidance for caring for Ebola patients that was issued by CDC on October 20. As product is delivered to SNS facilities, it is assembled into kits by SNS personnel. The kits can be rapidly delivered from the SNS as requested to those hospitals that receive suspected or confirmed Ebola cases but may need additional PPE supplies that otherwise are not immediately available.
Although the number of kits is limited, they will help address short-term PPE needs. Purchases include impermeable gowns, coveralls, and aprons; boot covers; gloves; face shields and hoods; N95 respirators; powered-air purifying respirator systems and ancillaries; and disinfecting wipes.
Since the issuance of the CDC guidance, there has been a sudden increase in demand for PPE. Across the United States, availability for these products varies by product type and model, requested quantity, manufacturer, distributor, and geographic region.
“We are making certain to not disrupt the orders submitted by states and hospitals, but we are building our stocks so that we can assist when needed. Some of these products are not normally used by hospitals for regular patient care,” said Greg Burel, director of CDC’s Division of Strategic National Stockpile.
There are alternatives that can be used in the event certain products are unavailable, and those alternatives are included in CDC’s guidance. CDC continues to coordinate with manufacturers, distributors and health care facilities to monitor the availability of products in the supply chain. No products are being held by manufacturers or distributors specifically for SNS orders, and SNS orders are not being prioritized ahead of orders placed by hospitals.
Hospitals should coordinate with their state public health departments if there is a need to request PPE supplies from CDC to care for an Ebola patient. The state health department will follow the established protocol for submitting this request to CDC. The latest CDC PPE guidance is available at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/procedures-for-ppe.html.