Rep. Davis Asks CDC for Additional Information for Healthcare Workers
In response to an Ebola roundtable discussion held in Springfield last week with area healthcare professionals, U.S .Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today sent a letter to Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking for additional information to ensure healthcare workers are properly equipped and trained to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.
In the letter, Davis writes, “Late last week, I hosted a roundtable discussion with healthcare leaders throughout my district who raised many questions and concerns that I believe require immediate attention to ensure the safety of our healthcare workers and the public if an Ebola case were to arise in Illinois. I am extremely concerned that this crucial information has not been provided or at least has not reached those that we are relying on to properly care for potential Ebola patients.”
To date, Rep. Davis has called for a travel ban and supports the temporary VISA ban proposed by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to restrict VISAS from the countries most affected by Ebola.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
Dr. Tom Frieden
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30329-4027
Dear Director Frieden,
With a second healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital testing positive for the Ebola virus after caring for an infected patient, I am writing with grave concern for the safety of healthcare workers in my District and throughout the U.S. Illinois is home to Chicago O’Hare International Airport one of five U.S. airports that receive nearly 94 percent of all passengers flying from West Africa. Although state officials have designated two hospitals in the Chicago area to receive these high-risk passengers, all of our hospitals throughout Illinois must be prepared.
Illinois has more than 200 hospitals and 50 health systems ranging from major medical centers to smaller critical access hospitals. They are working vigilantly with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ensure they have the proper protocols in place should a patient with Ebola seek care at their facility. However, infectious disease experts, hospital leaders and other healthcare workers in my district remain concerned that they do not have the necessary information to properly equip and train medical personnel to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.
Late last week, I hosted a roundtable discussion with healthcare leaders throughout my district who raised many questions and concerns that I believe require immediate attention to ensure the safety of our healthcare workers and the public if an Ebola case were to arise in Illinois. I am extremely concerned that this crucial information has not been provided or at least has not reached those that we are relying on to properly care for potential Ebola patients. As such, I am hoping to better understand the following:
- How are you communicating the necessary information to states to prevent a widespread outbreak of the Ebola virus? If you are communicating with relevant state agencies, is there a “checklist” of information regarding how to diagnose Ebola, the equipment needed, procedures to follow if someone is suspected to have the virus, etc. that they are required to disseminate to local hospitals, clinics and other providers so they can be prepared?
- Have you determined the exact type of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is needed to provide the best protection against transmission of the Ebola virus? If so, please provide my office this information and I recommend making it publically available.
- Understanding that properly assembling and removing PPE is vital to preventing transference of the virus, have you considered preparing a training video that could easily accessible to every healthcare worker in the U.S.?
- Obviously testing these patients’ could contaminate laboratories that are not equipped to specifically handle the Ebola virus. Are there proper procedures in place for hospitals to send these samples? How long should facilities expect to wait for the results?
- President Obama has indicated there will be a response team that will be onsite within 24 hours of any new Ebola diagnosis. After the team arrives, will the healthcare facility where the diagnosis occurred be required to continue caring for this patient or will the patient be transferred to a hospital designated to care for Ebola patients? If the patient is to be transferred, will the CDC provide the necessary equipment to safely transport the patient? Or if the patient will not be transferred, will the CDC be bringing the necessary equipment to properly care for the patient?
- Have proper waste disposal procedures been determined? If so, have they been made publicly available?
Our healthcare workers are on the front lines each and every day treating patients and must have the necessary information and resources to protect themselves and the public from a widespread outbreak of this deadly virus. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to sharing your response with the medical experts and hospital leaders throughout my district.
Member of Congress