|The Pentagon said the 30-member expeditionary medical support team will not be deployed to West Africa or elsewhere overseas. (Reed Hutchinson/UCLA Health System/Associated Press)|
Revised guidance for health-care workers treating Ebola patients will include using protective gear "with no skin showing," a top federal health official said Sunday.
The Pentagon also announced it was forming a team to assist medical staff in the U.S., if needed.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said those caring for an Ebola patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas were left vulnerable because some of their skin was exposed.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on revisions to safety protocols. Earlier ones, Fauci said, were based on a World Health Organization model in which care was given in more remote places, often outdoors and without intensive training for health workers.
"So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open," Fauci said.
"Very clearly, when you go into a hospital, you have to intubate somebody, have all of the body fluids, you've got to be completely covered. So that's going to be one of the things ... complete covering with no skin showing whatsoever," he said.
On Sunday, the Pentagon announced that Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel had ordered the formation of a 30-person support team from across the services to assist civilian medical professionals in the U.S. if needed to treat Ebola. So far, three cases have been confirmed in the U.S.
The team was to be formed by the Northern Command commander, Gen. Chuck Jacoby, and was to consist of 20 critical-care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease and five trainers in infectious disease protocols. Once formed, the team would undergo up to a week of specialized training in infection control and personal protective equipment at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, then remain in "prepare to deploy" status for 30 days.