Serosurvey on healthcare personnel caring for patients with Ebola virus disease and Lassa virus in the United States
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Objective: Healthcare personnel (HCP) were recruited to provide serum samples, which were tested for antibodies against Ebola or Lassa virus to evaluate for asymptomatic seroconversion.
Setting: From 2014 to 2016, 4 patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 1 patient with Lassa fever (LF) were treated in the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU) at Emory University Hospital. Strict infection control and clinical biosafety practices were implemented to prevent nosocomial transmission of EVD or LF to HCP.
Participants: All personnel who entered the SCDU who were required to measure their temperatures and complete a symptom questionnaire twice daily were eligible.
Results: No employee developed symptomatic EVD or LF. EVD and LF antibody studies were performed on sera samples from 42 HCP. The 6 participants who had received investigational vaccination with a chimpanzee adenovirus type 3 vectored Ebola glycoprotein vaccine had high antibody titers to Ebola glycoprotein, but none had a response to Ebola nucleoprotein or VP40, or a response to LF antigens.
Conclusions: Patients infected with filoviruses and arenaviruses can be managed successfully without causing occupation-related symptomatic or asymptomatic infections. Meticulous attention to infection control and clinical biosafety practices by highly motivated, trained staff is critical to the safe care of patients with an infection from a special pathogen.