Ebola virus disease in health care workers--Sierra Leone, 2014

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014 Dec 12;63(49):1168-71.


Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk for infection in outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (Ebola). To characterize Ebola in HCWs in Sierra Leone and guide prevention efforts, surveillance data from the national Viral Hemorrhagic Fever database were analyzed. In addition, site visits and interviews with HCWs and health facility administrators were conducted. As of October 31, 2014, a total of 199 (5.2%) of the total of 3,854 laboratory-confirmed Ebola cases reported from Sierra Leone were in HCWs, representing a much higher estimated cumulative incidence of confirmed Ebola in HCWs than in non-HCWs, based on national data on the number of HCW. The peak number of confirmed Ebola cases in HCWs was reported in August (65 cases), and the highest number and percentage of confirmed Ebola cases in HCWs was in Kenema District (65 cases, 12.9% of cases in Kenema), mostly from Kenema General Hospital. Confirmed Ebola cases in HCWs continued to be reported through October and were from 12 of 14 districts in Sierra Leone. A broad range of challenges were reported in implementing infection prevention and control measures. In response, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and partners are developing standard operating procedures for multiple aspects of infection prevention, including patient isolation and safe burials; recruiting and training staff in infection prevention and control; procuring needed commodities and equipment, including personal protective equipment and vehicles for safe transport of Ebola patients and corpses; renovating and constructing Ebola care facilities designed to reduce risk for nosocomial transmission; monitoring and evaluating infection prevention and control practices; and investigating new cases of Ebola in HCWs as sentinel public health events to identify and address ongoing prevention failures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ebolavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / diagnosis*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sierra Leone / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult