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Suiting Up for Ebola: CDC Will Issue New Protective Gear Guidelines

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Alarmed at learning that nurses in Dallas didn’t know how to protect themselves from a patient infected with Ebola virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to issue new, clearer guidelines soon.

Anyone treating an Ebola patient should wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, eye protection, a gown and head coverings. But a review of how two nurses got infected at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas showed some donning too many pairs of gloves and taping sleeves shut, efforts that made them feel safer but that in fact made them more vulnerable.

“But in fact, by putting on more layers of gloves and other protective clothing, it becomes much harder to put them on, it becomes much harder to put them off, and the risk of contamination during the process of taking these gloves off, it gets much higher,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said this week.

Original guidelines were meant to be flexible, but hospitals actually appear to need clear, consistent guidance, CDC officials say.

“We're wrapping up the final details and will be issuing the updated PPE guidance soon,” a spokeswoman said.

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— Maggie Fox

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