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, 218 (suppl_5), S679-S689

Infection Rates and Risk Factors for Infection Among Health Workers During Ebola and Marburg Virus Outbreaks: A Systematic Review


Infection Rates and Risk Factors for Infection Among Health Workers During Ebola and Marburg Virus Outbreaks: A Systematic Review

Saranya A Selvaraj et al. J Infect Dis.


Background: Infection in health workers (HWs) has characterized outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and Marburg virus disease (MVD). We conducted a systematic review to investigate infection and mortality rates and common exposure risks in HWs in EVD and MVD outbreaks.

Methods: We searched the EMBASE and PubMed databases to identify articles posted before 27 December 2017, with no language restrictions. Data on the number, frequency, and mortality of HW infection and exposure risks were extracted.

Results: Ninety-four articles related to 22 outbreaks were included. HW infections composed 2%-100% of cases in EVD and 5%-50% of cases in MVD outbreaks. Among exposed HWs, 0.6%-92% developed EVD, and 1%-10% developed MVD. HW infection rates were consistent through outbreaks. The most common exposure risk situations were inadequate personal protective equipment and exposure to patients with unrecognized EVD/MVD. Similar risks were reported in past EVD/MVD outbreaks and in the recent outbreak in West Africa.

Conclusions: Many outbreaks reported high proportions of infected HWs. Similar HW infection rates and exposure risk factors in both past and recent EVD and MVD outbreaks emphasize the need to improve the implementation of appropriate infection control measures consistently across all healthcare settings.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Most frequently exposed health worker occupations. The x-axis denotes the number of reports documenting exposure and/or infection in the specified occupation.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Factors leading to Ebola virus disease (EVD) and Marburg virus disease (MVD) exposure and infection in health workers (HWs). Abbreviations: HH, hand hygiene; IPC, infection prevention and control; PPE, personal protective equipment.

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