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    CDC urges Zika virus precautions in L&D setting


    An early release on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) MMWR website underscores the importance of following Standard Precautions in Labor & Delivery in the wake of emergence of the Zika virus. The outbreak, the report says, offers an opportunity for facility, nursing, and obstetric leadership to emphasize the importance of adhering to published infection control strategies to prevent transmission of infectious diseases in all health care settings.

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    In the report, CDC experts note that because obstetrical care is sometimes unpredictable and fast paced, use of Standard Precautions is essential to prevent possible transmission of Zika virus from patients to health care personnel. Among the recommendations for the Labor & Delivery setting are the following:

    ·       Use of soap and water or alcohol-based products, at a minimum, before and after patient contact and after removing personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves;

    ·       Use of gloves for procedures that represent a small risk of body fluid exposure to areas of the body other than the hands, such as vaginal examination of a pregnant patient with minimal cervical dilation and intact membranes;

    ·       Use of gloves and an impermeable gown for procedures such as placement of a fetal scalp electrode when membranes have already been ruptured or when handling newborns before blood and amniotic fluid have been removed from the newborn’s skin;

    ·       Use of gloves, an impermeable gown, and a mask and eye protection when exposure to body fluids is anticipated, such as an amniotomy or placement of an intrauterine pressure catheter; and

    ·       Use of gloves, an impermeable gown, a mask and eye protection, and knee-high impermeable shoe covers for procedures such as vaginal deliveries, manual placenta removal, bimanual uterine massage, and repair of vaginal lacerations.

    All health care personnel on a team involved in the same procedure should wear the same level of PPE. Any occupational exposures to body fluids should be reported as soon as possible to the facility’s occupational health clinic to ensure appropriate assessment of health care personnel, particularly women who may be pregnant.

    NEXT: A look at out-of-hospital birth trends

    Judith M. Orvos, ELS
    Judith M. Orvos, ELS, is a a BELS-certified medical writer and editor and an editorial consultant for Contemporary OB/GYN.
    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.


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