The rare Ebola virus has set out on another deadly rampage. This latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the worst in the country’s history—more than 400 people have died from the epidemic since August. Obviously tragic for its victims, the virus threatens the healthcare providers who care for these victims as well. That’s why ILC Dover has committed so much time and resources to developing effective protective equipment for these workers.
Ebola boasts a long and vile history. First discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Congo, the virus has surfaced intermittently in African countries since then. Scientists don’t know its origin, but they believe it’s an animal-borne disease transmitted to humans.
An experimental vaccine is helping communities impacted by Ebola, as more than 40,000 people have received it. Healthcare providers are getting the vaccine as well, but the protective equipment they use can be equally important.
Protective Gear for Healthcare Workers Fighting Ebola
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines are clear: “For all healthcare workers caring for patients with Ebola, personal protective equipment that fully covers skin and clothing and prevents any exposure of the eyes, nose and mouth is recommended to reduce the risk of accidental self-contamination.”
To guard against Ebola, the CDC recommends healthcare providers use equipment that would protect them from airborne pathogens. A powered air purifying respirator (PAPR), which filters out contaminants in the air, is one example. PAPRs use a battery-operated blower to provide clean air through a loose-fitting hood. Because it pulls air through the filter, the blower nearly eliminates breathing difficulty. The movement of air over the wearer’s head and face also can provide cooling in hot or strenuous working conditions while the positive pressure created in the hood improves overall protection levels.
ILC Dover created the Sentinel XL® HP, a high-performance PAPR system, for this specific purpose. The system is available with a full protective hood including taped seams, a robust blower system that delivers a steady airflow, a set of unique integrated battery pack options including one that uses standard D cell batteries, and easy-to-attach HEPA filters that meet healthcare protection standards. The protective hood passes ASTM F 1670-14 and ASTM F 1671-13 tests which are required by the CDC to protect against synthetic blood and blood-borne pathogen penetration. This product was designed in collaboration with and is a direct result of meeting with leading healthcare organizations to determine their specific needs as related to Ebola protection.
In a report on protective gear for healthcare providers, physicians from Johns Hopkins University and the University of North Carolina cite the importance of equipment that “protects the protectors” in the fight against Ebola: “Improvement in basic health care infrastructure and providing an adequate supply of personal protective equipment are desperately needed to prevent further unnecessary infection and loss of life among the heroic health care workers who are on the front lines of this war.”