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Healio featured a study led by Nicole A. Hoff, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, reporting that a significant number of healthcare workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are reactive to at least one Ebola virus protein despite never reporting infection.
Health care workers, or HCWs, are on the front lines of patient care during Ebola virus outbreaks and at an increased risk for disease due to occupational exposures. According to findings from a recently published study, a significant proportion of HCWs from a prior Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were reactive to at least one Ebola virus protein despite never reporting infection and may be able to “neutralize” the virus, researchers said.
“Historically, HCWs have perpetuated the spread of amplification of [Ebola virus disease] and serve as axes of viral transmission often before Ebola virus is even recognized as the causative agent,” Nicole A. Hoff, PhD, MPH, epidemiologist in the University of California, Los Angeles’ UCLA-DRC Health Research and Training Program, and colleagues wrote. “Despite HCWs’ increased risk of acquiring and transmitting the disease, there is limited research assessing the total burden of Ebola virus among HCWs.”