Ebolaoutbreak management policies
Ebolais a rare and deadly disease. It is caused after one is infected withone of Ebola virus species. The disease affects humans as well asnon-human primates such as gorillas, monkeys and chimpanzees. Thevirus belongs to the family of Filoviridae and a genus of Ebolavirus. Currently, the disease has five identified virus speciesincluding four that are recognized to cause disease in humans. TheFirst virus is referred to as Zaire Ebola virus second is the Sudanvirus, Tai forest virus and the Burundi bugyo Ebola virus. Finally isthe Reston Ebola virus that causes disease in non-humans. The diseasewas first discovered in 1976 in Congo near the Ebola River. Sincethen, there have been outbreaks in the African continent. The diseaseis spread through contact with broken skin, mucous membranes such asthe eyes the nose or the mouth(Berkman, 2003).
Ebolawas not the first novel virus to present in the United States. In thepast, there have been other viruses such as SARS, anthrax, bird flu,and Influenza. Specifically, there were only four new cases of Ebolain the United States during the 2014 outbreak. Out of the four cases,there resulted into one fatality(CDC, n.d).
Concerningthe pandemic preparedness policies, the issues would have manifestedexponentially had the outbreak escalated to pandemic proportions. TheEbola virus disease outbreak began in West Africa and emerged in alimited form in the United States. The national response highlightedpossible vulnerabilities on the country’s preparedness for similaroutbreaks. For example, a nurse in Dallas contracted Ebola whiletreating an infected patient (Bueche, 2004).
Thegovernment responded to the case by passing into law, the Pandemicand All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA). The Actenables the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to proactively prepare for possible biological threats. The bill aimedat increasing the governments capability to respond to actual andpotential health threats. The bill gave the FDA the authority totemporarily authorize a medical product upon the determination of apossible threat. Previously, the FDA could only provide an emergencyuse authorization that made the federal slow at responding toemerging threats. Besides, the federal increased the number ofpreparedness funds to 833 million United States dollars. Anadditional 5.4 billion United States dollars was offered inform ofemergency supplemental funds. The funds were specifically meant toincrease the efforts to contain the epidemic globally, increase thedomestic preparedness as well as enhance the development of vaccinesand treatments (Holtz, 2008).
Iam of the view that the government’s approach is single sided. Itfocussed on the ability of the health institutions to handle apossible outbreak in the future. However, there is a deficiency abouthow to control possible importation of pandemics into the UnitedStates. In addition to deficiencies in preparedness, the emergence ofEbola indicated a shortage in the policies regarding personalprotection, communication and disaster response that had previouslybeen issued by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,n.d).
Thepolicy fails to tackle the inadequacy of training and quarantineassociated with appropriate response to a pandemic outbreak. In NewJersey, a nurse returning from treating individuals in West Africafailed to abide by the quarantine imposed by the state. Consequently,there is the need for quarantine policies and strict enforcement.Besides, healthcare workers complained about their trainingdisposition concerning the use of personal protective equipment.There were complaints about the inconsistent nature of handlingprocedures for infected patients. Federal policies should improve theresponse capabilities in case of larger outbreaks of any diseasesimilar to Ebola in the future. The policies should ensure theability to contain other global diseases as well as biologicalthreats (Quammen & OverDrive, 2014).
Itherefore, advocate for a federal policyto minimize possibleimportation of outbreaks into the United States. The components aimat prevention, protection and mitigation from a possible pandemicfrom the Ebola virus. The firstfederal policy entails screeningprocedures of individuals arriving into the United States from areaswith outbreaks.Entry points such as the airports and seaports shouldhave sufficient screening procedures and facilities for travellers tothe United States and originating from outbreak areas. The proceduresensure the identification of infected people and the initiation ofthe appropriate management and care processes (CDC, n.d).
Inaddition to testing, there is need for the establishment of a CDCquarantine centre at each of the entry points.Immediately aftertesting,patients should be sent to a CDC quarantine station forfurther assessment. The CDC should screen all patients with travelhistories, clinical symptoms or exposure that suggests a person has aVirus Disease. The strategy is necessary to ensure immediateidentification and isolation of infected personnel upon arrival tothe United States (Berkman, 2003).
Second,there is the need to increase the equipment capacity of hospitals tohandle pandemic outbreaks.The hospitals should provide theappropriate isolation and use of proper PPE by staff for a minimum of96 hours.The capacity of hospitals augments the implementation ofquarantine, monitoring and isolation. Besides, it enables tracking ofsymptoms within potentially exposed individuals returning fromendemic areas (Bueche, 2004).
Finally,there is the need for training of healthcare workers on the use ofpersonal protective equipment. Training increases the competence ofnurses in donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) of the PPEbefore and after caring for infected patients. It reduces the chancesof nurses to contract diseases from patients (CDC, n.d).
Berkman, B. (2003). Socialwork and health care in an aging society education, policy, practice,and research. NewYork: Springer.
Bueche, S. (2004). Theebola virus.Farmington Hills, MI: Kidhaven Press
CDC. (n.d).Interim U.S. Guidancefor Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Potential Ebola VirusExposure.Retrieved fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/exposure/monitoringand-movement-of-persons-with-exposure.html.onJanuary 16, 2016.
Holtz, C. (2008). Globalhealth care: Issues and policies.Sudbury,Mass.: Jones and Bartlett.
Quammen, D., &OverDrive, I.(2014). Ebola.S.I.:W. W. Norton & Company.