Some residents of West Africa are frightened by the protective suits worn by health workers aiding victims of the Ebola virus, but for those workers, personal protective equipment and strict disinfection procedures offer critical protection from the deadly disease, which is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids.
• Each worker is accompanied by a partner, who spot-checks for exposed skin or tears in the equipment. • Before entering treatment centers, workers wash with a water solution of 0.5 percent chlorine or soap and water. • Once in the treatment center, workers should not touch their face. They should limit the number of surfaces they touch and must wash their gloved hands frequently. • Workers should change gloves if they become heavily contaminated. If supply allows, gloves must be changed when moving from patient to patient. When leaving the treatment center, workers are sprayed with a chlorine solution and step through a chlorine basin in a decontamination zone. • In the decontamination area, workers first remove outer gloves and place them in a biohazard container. • Workers wash their hands in a chlorine solution or soap and water after removing each item of protective clothing. • As they leave the containment area, their feet are sprayed with a chlorine solution. • Coveralls, goggles, boots and aprons can be reused after disinfection. Gloves, facemasks, respirators and surgical caps are incinerated.
Two pairs of gloves, taped closed
THE SUI T *
* Doctors Without Borders design
SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. GRAPHIC: Charity Brown and Patterson Clark - The Washington Post. Published Sept. 15, 2014.