Unexpected Ebola virus in a tertiary setting: clinical and epidemiologic aspects

Crit Care Med. 2000 Jan;28(1):240-4. doi: 10.1097/00003246-200001000-00041.


Objectives: To describe the clinical manifestations of viral hemorrhagic fever, and to increase clinicians' awareness and knowledge of these illnesses.

Design: Retrospective study of the clinical and laboratory data and management of two cases of Ebola virus infection with key epidemiologic data provided.

Setting: Two tertiary care hospitals.

Patients: Two adult patients, the index case and the source patient, both identified as having Ebola, one of whom originated in Gabon.

Interventions: One patient was admitted to the intensive care unit. The other was managed in a general ward.

Measurement and main results: Clinical and laboratory data are reported. One patient, a healthcare worker who contracted this illness in the course of her work, died of refractory thrombocytopenia and an intracerebral bleed. The source patient survived. Despite a long period during which the diagnosis was obscure, none of the other 300 contacts contracted the illness.

Conclusions: Identification of high-risk patients and use of universal blood and body fluid precautions will considerably decrease the risk of nosocomial spread of viral hemorrhagic fevers.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Ebolavirus / classification
  • Ebolavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / diagnosis*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / transmission
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • South Africa / epidemiology