Clinical Management of Ebola Virus Disease in the United States and Europe

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Available data on the characteristics of patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) and clinical management of EVD in settings outside West Africa, as well as the complications observed in those patients, are limited.

METHODS

We reviewed available clinical, laboratory, and virologic data from all patients with laboratory-confirmed Ebola virus infection who received care in U.S. and European hospitals from August 2014 through December 2015.

RESULTS

A total of 27 patients (median age, 36 years [range, 25 to 75]) with EVD received care; 19 patients (70%) were male, 9 of 26 patients (35%) had coexisting conditions, and 22 (81%) were health care personnel. Of the 27 patients, 24 (89%) were medically evacuated from West Africa or were exposed to and infected with Ebola virus in West Africa and had onset of illness and laboratory confirmation of Ebola virus infection in Europe or the United States, and 3 (11%) acquired EVD in the United States or Europe. At the onset of illness, the most common signs and symptoms were fatigue (20 patients [80%]) and fever or feverishness (17 patients [68%]). During the clinical course, the predominant findings included diarrhea, hypoalbuminemia, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, and hypomagnesemia; 14 patients (52%) had hypoxemia, and 9 (33%) had oliguria, of whom 5 had anuria. Aminotransferase levels peaked at a median of 9 days after the onset of illness. Nearly all the patients received intravenous fluids and electrolyte supplementation; 9 (33%) received noninvasive or invasive mechanical ventilation; 5 (19%) received continuous renal-replacement therapy; 22 (81%) received empirical antibiotics; and 23 (85%) received investigational therapies (19 [70%] received at least two experimental interventions). Ebola viral RNA levels in blood peaked at a median of 7 days after the onset of illness, and the median time from the onset of symptoms to clearance of viremia was 17.5 days. A total of 5 patients died, including 3 who had respiratory and renal failure, for a mortality of 18.5%.

CONCLUSIONS

Among the patients with EVD who were cared for in the United States or Europe, close monitoring and aggressive supportive care that included intravenous fluid hydration, correction of electrolyte abnormalities, nutritional support, and critical care management for respiratory and renal failure were needed; 81.5% of these patients who received this care survived.

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