CDC updates ebola information for U.S. clinicians

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided an update to clinicians in U.S. hospitals and health clinics on Sunday on how to recognize and treat the ebola virus.

The CDC said that ebola can be confused in the early stages of infection with more common diseases including malaria typhoid fever. Patients with ebola generally have an abrupt onset of symptoms 8-10 days after exposure with the disease.

Initial signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, myalgias and malaise. Patients can also develop a maculopapular rash by 5-7 days into an infection.

As the disease progresses, patients may report gastrointestinal problems and other symptoms including chest pain or shortness of breath. Bleeding is not universally present but can manifest later as an oozing from venipuncture sites.

Laboratory findings at hospital emission may include leukopenia and lymphopenia later followed by neutrophils. Platelet counts are often decreased, and amylase may be elevated.

The CDC said that patients known or suspected to have ebola should be treated under appropriate precautions as soon as possible. There are no approved treatments for the disease, but the CDC recommends volume repletion and maintenance of good blood pressure as steps that should be taken.

There ebola cases have occurred in the U.S. Two American health workers who recently contracted the disease in West Africa are currently receiving treatment at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.