To describe the hospital precautions used to isolate a Sabiá virus (arenavirus: Arenaviridae)-infected patient in a US hospital and to protect hospital staff and visitors.
Investigation of a single case of arenavirus laboratory-acquired infection and associated case-contacts.
A 900-bed, tertiary-care, university-affiliated medical center.
The case-patient became ill with Sabiá virus infection. The case-contacts consisted of healthcare workers, coworkers, friends, and relatives of the case-patient.
Enhanced isolation precautions for treatment of a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) patient were implemented in the clinical laboratory and patient-care setting to prevent nosocomial transmission. The enhanced precautions included preventing aerosol spread of the virus from the patient or his clinical specimens. All case-contacts were tested for Sabiá virus antibodies and monitored for signs and symptoms of early disease.
No cases of secondary infection occurred among 142 case-contacts.
With the frequency of worldwide travel, patients with VHF can be admitted to a local hospital at any time in the United States. The use of enhanced isolation precautions for VHF appeared to be effective in preventing secondary cases by limiting the number of contacts and promoting proper handling of laboratory specimens. Patients with VHF can be managed safely in a local hospital setting, provided that appropriate precautions are planned and implemented.
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