Assessing and planning medical air evacuations for Ebola patients – an ECDC guide
When should a medical air evacuation of an Ebola patient be considered What are the risks both for the patient and the accompanying medical staff and airplane crew The ECDC technical document Assessing and planning of medical air-evacuations flights to Europe by air to Europe for patients with Ebola virus disease and people exposed to Ebola virus provides guidance for the decision-making process and outlines advantages and drawbacks of different isolation approaches during transportation.
During the on-going outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, several medical air evacuations to European countries and the U.S.A. have taken place.
Since there are currently no commonly agreed criteria at European level regarding medical evacuation by air, nor guidance on how such evacuations should be carried out, the ECDC report aims to support decision-making in this regard. This includes evaluating benefits and risks of patients, crew and medical staff when there is a perceived need for medical evacuation by air of an infected or exposed person from an Ebola-affected country. Overall, the decision to evacuate should be based on: • the likelihood of the person being infected with Ebola virus;• the potential benefits of evacuation for the concerned person/patient;• the risks associated with medical evacuation by air for the person/patient; and • the risk of transmission to the crew and accompanying medical staff.
In addition, reduction of transmission risks as well as surface decontamination following medical air evacuations are discussed in the report.
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Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Resources to support health providers in the EU in the identification and management of potential EVD patients:
- Case definitions for Ebola patients in the EU
- Algorithm for the laboratory diagnosis of Ebola virus disease
- Algorithm for the initial assessment and management of patients with Ebola virus disease
External sources:European Commission with links to national websites