Date: March 8, 2019
To: UW Health Care Providers
From: Daniel Shirley, MD, MS, Associate Hospital Epidemiologist and the Pathogens Team
Re: Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Update
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an update and reminder on February 8, 2019 regarding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As of February 21, 2019, 890 total cases have been reported with 559 deaths; 172 suspected cases remain under investigation; all cases are in DRC.
The UW Health Special Pathogens Team has been following the situation and continues general readiness training for the identification and care of patients with Ebola or other highly pathogenic infectious diseases. The Special Pathogens Team remains in contact with our Wisconsin and Dane County Health Departments and regional partners to ensure mutual understanding of the preparedness status of assessment and treatment centers in our region.
The CDC recommends that providers continue to routinely obtain a travel history as part of patient care. As there is not an active threat for Ebola Virus Disease in our area at this time, we have not reinstituted the electronic medical record-based screening questions at check-in. Should the travel history (travel to DRC) and presenting symptoms raise concern for Ebola Virus Disease, please place the patient in a private room and contact Infection Control on-call (pager 2570) for further instruction.
Symptoms of EVD include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or unexplained hemorrhage. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after contact with the virus, with an average of 8 to 10 days. Many common illnesses can have these same symptoms, including influenza.
For further information, please refer to the:
- CDC EVD portal (https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html)
- World Health Organization Ebola situation reports: DRC (https://www.who.int/ebola/situation-reports/drc-2018/en/)
- National Ebola Training and Education Center (https://netec.org/),
or contact Daniel Shirley, MD, MS, Associate Hospital Epidemiologist and the Pathogens Team