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Ebola

Get clinical answers to frequently asked questions about Ebola.

Multisociety Statement On Processing Biohazardous Medical Waste

The recent outbreak of Ebola has raised questions about the correct handling of Ebola-contaminated biohazardous medical waste. This joint advisory statement is intended to provide guidance to personnel and health care organizations. Read more ...

  • What precautions should the perioperative team take in the OR when caring for a patient with known or suspected Ebola?

    Perioperative team members should take standard, contact, droplet, and airborne precautions when caring for a patient with known or suspected Ebola in the OR. See Ebola: Perioperative Considerations for more information.

    Resources:

    • CDC’s Updated PPE Guidance 
    • CDC’s web-based Training for Putting on and Removing PPE 
    • CDC’s Information for Healthcare Workers and Settings 
    • AORN Journal Clinical Issue – Ebola: Perioperative Considerations
    • ANA’s Ebola Information 
    • AOHP’s Ebola Toolkit 
    • Preparing for Ebola: What U.S. Hospitals Can Learn From Emory Healthcare and Nebraska Medical Center

    Updated October 24, 2014.

  • What PPE should sterile processing team members wear when decontaminating instruments used on patients with known or suspected Ebola?
    • No exposed skin
    • Either a Surgical N95 Respirator or a PAPR: both should be NIOSH certified
    • Either a gown (fluid resistant, extends to mid-calf) or coveralls (fluid resistant, without integrated hood)
    • Boot covers (fluid resistant, extends to mid-calf)
    • Gloves (double, heavy duty, outer pair has extended cuff)
    • Apron (fluid resistant, extends to mid-calf)
    • Full face shield and surgical hood (If wearing PAPR, should be integrated)

    Resources:

    Updated November 18, 2014.

  • Why is the CDC recommendation for removal of gowns and gloves different from AORN’s recommendations?

    The CDC recommends that when removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the contaminated gloves should be removed before the gown. This is contrary to long-standing perioperative practice related to sterile technique. When removing gown and gloves after participating in a sterile procedure, the gown is removed followed by the gloves. This is because the sterile gown has a Velcro seal at the back of the neck that can be released by the scrubbed person moving their shoulders forward. In this case, the surgical gown can be removed, and folded inside-out as it is removed, after which the gloves can be removed using a glove-to-glove then a skin-to-skin technique.

    The CDC recommends removing the gloves before the gown because the unsterile gowns used as PPE have a string tie at the back of the neck. This tie cannot be removed by the team member moving their shoulders forward. In this case, the gloves have to be removed first so that the team member can safely untie the back of the neck with ungloved hands. In this scenario, the team member would first remove the gloves using a glove-to-glove and skin-to-skin technique, untie the string tie at the back of the neck, and then remove the gown. Whenever gown and gloves are removed, hand hygiene should be performed immediately after.

    Resources:

    Updated October 24, 2014.

  • How should Ebola-contaminated instruments be handled?

    Updated November 17, 2014.

  • How should Ebola-contaminated laryngoscope equipment (ie, blades, handles) be handled?
  • Are there any Ebola precaution guidelines for performing cesarean section procedures?

    When performing a cesarean section procedure for a patient with known or suspected Ebola, perioperative team members should take standard, contact, droplet, and airborne precautions. See Ebola: Perioperative Considerations for more information. Guidance from the CDC specific to labor and delivery settings is in development.

    Resources:

    Updated October 24, 2014.

  • Is air travel to AORN events safe?

    Please refer to CDC guidance for the most current travel information.

    AORN is monitoring the status of travel recommendations related to Ebola. If there is any change in status that would impact AORN events or the safety of traveling attendees, we will provide updated information.

    Resources: