1599b Emerging infections and health care workers in thailand

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Abstract

Thailand’s population to doctor, dentist, registered nurse ratio in 2015 were 1 to 2035, 9352 and 436 respectively; with 117 infectious medical specialists and 63 occupational physicians.

In 2015, 89 hospitals had negative pressure rooms for Avian and other Influenza, Ebola and MERS.

The strategy to prevent emerging diseases among health care workers (HCWs) stresses on screening of patients who have fever and respiratory symptoms and who travelled from surveillance countries e.g. Africa for Ebola, Middle East for MERS; those who have chicken livestock at home or who had travelled in surveillance countries for Avian Flu.

During the first outbreak of Avian Influenza, HCWs did not know much about the illness and so there was fear among them. Subsequent release of information from the Ministry of Public Health, provision of Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms in almost every hospital, and assistance from occupational physicians and OH nurses allowed HCWs to work with greater confidence.

There were 25 cases of Avian influenza in with 17 fatalities.

In 2016 when there was outbreak of MERS-CoV, HCWs were given information on these diseases and generally did not fear to work with patients. However, a 2016 survey of nursing competency among final year nursing students showed that the lowest point in competency level was coping with emerging diseases. A report of 43 HCWs with patient contact in a private hospital popular among Middle East patients stated that all used N-95 respirators (after respiratory fit testing) and other protective gears during their entire working period. All their serum specimens tested negative for MERS-coV antibodies.

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