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Prof. David Evans - Barrier methods and training "not sufficient" to stop first Ebola contraction outside West Africa

Prof David EvansIn response to the first known case of ebola being contracted outside of West Africa, Professor David Evans of the University of Warwick's Department of Life Sciences argues that it is of concern as it "suggests that the barrier methods and training were not sufficient to protect healthcare workers and prevent secondary infections".

Professor Evan's full comment:

"Healthcare workers are at the forefront in the battle to control Ebola, both in West Africa and for the patients evacuated to treatment centres in the US, UK and Spain. Despite anti-contamination suits and training they have increased risk of exposure to the virus which is transferred by direct contact, bodily fluids and on fomites (inanimate objects that been in contact with bodily fluids from the patient).”

“The recent report of a Spanish nurse who has contracted the virus after treating the priest, Manuel Garcia Viejo, is of concern as it suggests that the barrier methods and training were not sufficient to protect healthcare workers and prevent secondary infections. This is the first case of Ebola where infection occurred outside West Africa, though there are also a number of individuals in quarantine in Texas after being potentially exposed to a visiting Liberian who developed symptoms after arriving in the USA. Recent statistics on the epidemic in West Africa from the World Health Organisation (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/135600/1/roadmapsitrep_1Oct2014_eng.pdf) indicate that the case fatality rate is higher in healthcare workers than the general population. Although there is likely underreporting of cases and fatalities in the general population it emphasises the risks taken by healthcare workers delivering the critical diagnostic and supportive treatment to Ebola patients."

To speak with Professor Evans please contact:

Tom Frew - International Press Officer, University of Warwick;

a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk

+44 (0) 2476575910

Professor David Evans;

D dot J dot Evans at warwick dot ac dot uk

Click here for more information on Professor Evans.