Vol. 64, No. 04
February 6, 2015
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Announcements: Guidance Available for Implementing and Managing Contact Tracing for Ebola in Countries Without Ebola Outbreaks
WeeklyFebruary 6, 2015 / 64(04);112
CDC has posted on its website the guidance document, "CDC Methods for Implementing and Managing Contact Tracing for Ebola Virus Disease in Less-Affected Countries" (available at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/contact-tracing-guidelines.pdf ). With Ebola, the importance of contact tracing is twofold. First, closely following all contacts of an Ebola patient during the 21-day incubation period can prevent secondary transmission. Second, detection of secondary cases early in the disease course allows them to be isolated before further transmission can occur. Rigorous attention to contact tracing is a crucial step in the containment of Ebola; a single missed contact can result in ongoing transmission.
The guidance on the CDC website provides detailed information on how to practically accomplish the objectives of contact tracing. It outlines contact tracing preparation, implementation, and management to meet these objectives. Contact tracing preparation includes defining the roles and responsibilities within the contact tracing team, training personnel, and allocating funds and resources. Implementation of contact tracing includes identifying, listing, and enrolling persons as contacts, establishing contact follow-up processes, and discharging them after completion of monitoring. Management includes hiring and training of personnel, ensuring their health and safety, addressing stigma that might be associated with being a contact or contact tracing personnel, and establishing quality assurance measures (e.g., weekly active surveillance reports).
As the current Ebola outbreak continues, this document provides countries without Ebola outbreaks with guidance on preparing, implementing, and managing contact tracing to stop secondary Ebola transmissions in the event of an imported case. Among other public health measures, prompt and efficient contact tracing is crucial to terminate the transmission of Ebola.