PERFORMANCE: Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust has bolstered its infection control policies following the treatment of a suspected Ebola patient.

The patient, with a recent history of travel to countries in Africa, presented to the trust’s emergency department feeling unwell.  Staff carried out an assessment to see if she was at risk of viral haemorrhagic fever. The patient was subsequently isolated and staff wore protective equipment.

It emerged that she did not have a serious condition, but Lesley McKay, associate director for infection prevention and control, said the trust needed to ensure training was rolled out regarding putting on and removing protective equipment, and that samples taken for viral haemorrhagic fever screening should not be sent by courier to the reference laboratory until testing has been authorised by a consultant microbiologist.

Accident and emergency staff should be reminded of the correct procedure for labelling specimen bottles and request forms with “danger of infection” stickers in suspected viral haemorrhagic fever cases, Ms McKay said.

She added: “Suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever are rare in the UK and therefore staff have limited experience in dealing with these cases.”