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July 2017

Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

Highlights: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 23, No. 7, August 2017

Note: Not all articles that EID publishes represent work done at CDC or by CDC staff. In your stories, please clarify whether a study was conducted by CDC (“a CDC study”) or by another institution (“a study published by CDC in the EID journal”). Opinions expressed by authors contributing to EID do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CDC or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. EID requests that, when possible, you include a live link to the actual journal article in your stories.

The articles of interest summarized below will appear in the August 2017 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed public health journal.  The articles are embargoed until July 12, 2017, at noon EDT.

1.      Occupational Exposures to Ebola Virus in Ebola Treatment Center, Conakry, Guinea, Hélène Savini et al.

Healthcare workers demonstrated great heroism by providing direct care to patients during the West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak during 2014–2015. They were truly in the line of fire; Ebola caused 109 deaths among healthcare workers in Guinea. Their sacrifices and circumstances need to be better described so that occupational exposures and infections can be minimized in future outbreaks. Investigators sought to analyze factors associated with high-risk exposures to Ebola virus by studying the experience of staff at the Healthcare Workers Treatment Center in Conakry, Guinea. This center was established to diagnose and treat suspected or proven EVD in healthcare workers by offering extensive medical care and monitoring. Their findings indicated no demographic, professional, or incidental factors associated with a higher frequency of risk for infection. In contrast to what the researchers expected, exposure incidents during removal of personal protective equipment (e.g., masks and other protective clothing) were rare; however, obtaining a blood sample from a patient proved to be a high-risk activity. Notably, a large number of occupational exposures occurred in the first month of the study, which indicated that more technical experience could decrease the risk for infection. Despite the high incidence of occupational exposures, no infections occurred during or after the study, which supported the hypothesis that countermeasures implemented (e.g., reliable biosafety protocols) were effective in preventing Ebola virus transmission. These findings underscore the need for increased technical training for healthcare workers caring for EVD patients.

Address for correspondence: Hélène Savini, Department of Infectious and Tropical Disease, French Military Teaching Hospital Laveran, 34 Bd Laveran, 13013 Marseille, France; email: