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Ebola: Information for Clinicians
Clinical Profile and Testing
- The incubation period is 2-21 days (usually 5-7 days).
- The illness is characterized by abrupt onset of fever, chills, myalgias and malaise. This is followed by GI symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain), cough, headache, and conjunctival hemorrhages.
- Hemorrhagic symptoms usually occur at the peak of illness and include maculopapular rash, petechiae, bruising, and bleeding from venipuncture sites. Gross bleeding from the GI and GU tracts is usually only seen in dying patients.
- The late stage of disease is manifested by shock, capillary leak syndrome, seizures, delerium, coma, bleeding and anuria.
- Laboratory findings include leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, elevated transaminases, proteinuria, and markers of DIC.
- In survivors, the convalescent phase is long.
- Ebola Fever should be suspected in a patient with a history of travel to an outbreak area who has fever, myalgias, and two of the following (rash, nosebleed, hematemesis, hemoptysis, hematochezia).
- In the US, Ebola testing is only performed by special laboratories.
- No specific antiviral therapy is available.
- Patients get supportive care, like IVs.
- Some experimental drugs are being evaluated but it is too eaarly to know if they will work.
Infection Control and Prevention
- Contact and droplet precautions are indicated for suspected and confirmed cases.
- Airborne precautions should be used for aerosolgenerating procedures
- Eye protection, such as goggles or face shield, recommended.
- Careful removal of PPE followed by hand washing is important.
- Remember to call lab/infection control before sending specimens.