THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Sierra Leone workers issue new guidelines for treating children with Ebola

The new guidelines were developed to create a common standard for treating Ebola-infected children. | File photo
A team of health care workers based in Port Loko, Sierra Leone, at the biggest Ebola treatment unit (ETU), have created guidelines that will help health care professionals to better treat children who have Ebola.

During West Africa’s Ebola outbreak in 2014, most of the people infected with Ebola were children under 5 years old. Separating them from their families in order to care for them caused significant stress; there were limited options for treating such children, and many times they still did not receive adequate care, resulting in high death rates for children with Ebola.

The new guidelines were developed to create a common standard for treating Ebola-infected children. The goal is to prevent such conflicting situations as were seen in the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The guidelines outline an aggressive method for treating the infected children, including taking intravenous fluids, treating other potential infections, raising their bedside care, and giving them fortified food.

"We know Ebola is going to come back," Indi Trehan, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and first author of the study, said. "But the next time an Ebola treatment unit is opened, the physicians, nurses and other health-care providers shouldn't have to start from scratch. Our goal in publishing our findings is so they can have something solid to start with. It may not be perfect -- we invite others to build on it -- but it's from our collective experience. This is how we think children with Ebola should be cared for."

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