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CDC Offers Ebola Guidance for Health Care Providers

Virus is detected in blood only after the onset of symptoms, usually fever

THURSDAY, Oct. 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In the wake of the first confirmed case of a patient being diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering information on Ebola diagnosis and management for health care providers, including testing protocol.

According to health officials, the virus is spread through contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola; however, Ebola virus is detected in blood only after the onset of symptoms, usually fever. According to the CDC's website, it may take up to three days after symptoms appear for the virus to reach detectable levels. The virus is usually detectable by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay from three to 10 days after symptoms begin.

If a symptomatic patient presents to a health care facility and is suspected of having been exposed to Ebola, a blood specimen should be taken. However, if the onset of symptoms is less than three days prior, a later specimen may be needed to confirm a negative finding.

"Any person collecting specimens from a patient with a case of suspected Ebola virus disease should wear gloves, water-resistant gowns, full face shield or goggles, and masks to cover all of the nose and mouth," according to a CDC guidance document. "Additional personal protective equipment may be required in certain situations."

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