Containment Care Units for Managing Patients With Highly Hazardous Infectious Diseases: A Concept Whose Time Has Come

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The concept of containment care for patients with highly hazardous infectious diseases originated in conjunction with the development of sophisticated biosafety level 4 laboratories at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in the late 1960s. Over time, the original containment facility served as a model for the development of other facilities in the United States at government and academic centers. The Ebola outbreak of 2014–2015 brought the issue of containment care into the mainstream and led to the development of such capabilities at strategic points around the country. We describe the original concepts behind development of such facilities, how the concept and acceptance has evolved over time, and how the guidelines for managing patients infected with viral hemorrhagic fevers have evolved as new information has been learned about protecting medical care providers from highly hazardous infectious pathogens.

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