New guidelines for the treatment of Ebola expected to be issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require healthcare workers to be completely covered up when treating patients for the virus and be monitored while donning and removing protective garb.
The new, more stringent guidelines have been developed as a response to two nurses at a Dallas hospital becoming infected with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person in the United States to die of the virus Oct. 8.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said those caring for Duncan were vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed. He said that earlier guidelines released by the CDC were based on those used by the World Health Organization for treatment in remote places remote places, often outdoors, and without intensive training for health workers.
Health officials had previously allowed hospitals some flexibility to use available covering when dealing with suspected Ebola patients. The new guidelines are expected to set firmer standards: calling for full-body suits and hoods that protect worker’s necks; setting rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands; and requiring a “site manager” to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.
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NIH Director Francis Collins said last week that cuts to his agency’s budget prevented researchers from developing a vaccine for Ebola.
The claim by Dr. Collins in an interview with The Huffington Post angered some knowledgeable observers. They pointed to questionable NIH-funded studies and research initiatives over the years: one exploring why lesbians tend to be overweight compared to gay men, another on the sex lives of fruit flies and another looking into the communication skills of chimpanzees that throw their own feces.
Romina Boccia, a Heritage Foundation expert on the federal budget, noted that the government’s own documents show NIH spending hovered around $30 billion from 2010 to 2013. The current request puts spending at the same level.
Over that period, the budget of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the relevant unit within NIH for Ebola, fluctuated between $4.3 billion and $4.8 billion. In his request for fiscal year 2015, President Obama proposed $4.4 billion.
Read the full article at The Daily Signal.