Public health management of persons having had contact with Ebola virus disease cases in the EU

Public health guidance
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Public health management of persons having had contact with Ebola virus disease cases in the EU, 22 October 2014. Stockholm: ECDC; 2014.

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This document aims to provide guidance to EU/EEA public health authorities for the management of those having had contact with EVD cases. Implementation may be modified in accordance with the public health assessment carried out by the public health officer interviewing the contacts.

This report has been updated on the 10 November 2014, new version available below.

Executive summary

The unprecedented magnitude and geographical extent of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa has overwhelmed the local response capacity, posing an extreme challenge for outbreak containment.

As long as the outbreak in West Africa continues, it can be expected that a person who has travelled from an Ebola-affected area might develop EVD after arriving in a non-affected country, for example in the EU. On 30 September 2014, CDC confirmed the first case1 of Ebola diagnosed in the United States in a person who had travelled from Liberia.

Certain cases from the affected areas are currently being medically evacuated to Europe and the USA. Furthermore, as of 22 October 2014, three healthcare workers had been infected outside the affected countries after caring for EVD cases: one in Spain and two in the USA.

Decreasing the risk of Ebola virus transmission is dependent on early detection and isolation of cases, and the early detection and isolation of new EVD cases among their contacts, through contact tracing and monitoring. There is a risk of transmission in the period between the onset of the first symptoms, the recognition of the possibility of EVD by healthcare professionals and the subsequent isolation of the patient.