Study finds U.S. capability to handle Ebola outbreak limited but sufficient

Study finds U.S. capability to handle Ebola outbreak limited but sufficient. | Courtesy of the CDC

A study from the Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology this week suggests that the U.S. is capable of treating another Ebola virus outbreak, despite limitations.

According to researchers, U.S. capabilities in this area would likely be limited by resource, staffing and financial challenges. In 2014, one patient died from the Ebola virus disease (EVD); two health care workers were infected. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established 55 EVD treatment sites.

This study was carried out by a team representing the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Emory University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Indiana University of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School.

According to researchers, while these sites were established, national preparedness was also enhanced. There are limitations on treatment, however, specifically associated with waste disposal, pediatric care and overall staffing.

"We have strengthened our nation's ability to properly contain a highly unlikely outbreak of Ebola,” John Lowe, the study's lead author, said. “However, the ability to treat outbreaks of other infectious viruses which are airborne, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), would be challenging."

The study recommends that further investigation be made to determine whether sufficient resources are available in case of an outbreak.

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