Preparedness for admission of patients with suspected Ebola virus disease in European hospitals
In response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization has advised all nations to prepare for the detection, investigation and management of confirmed and suspected EVD cases in order to prevent further spread through international travel. To gain insights into the state of preparedness of European hospitals, an electronic survey was circulated in August-September 2014 to 984 medical professionals representing 736 hospitals in 40 countries. The survey addressed the willingness and capacity to admit patients with suspected EVD as well as specific preparedness activities in response to the current Ebola crisis. Evaluable responses were received from representatives of 254 (32%) hospitals in 38 countries, mostly tertiary care centres, of which 46% indicated that they would admit patients with suspected EVD. Patient transfer agreements were in place for the majority of hospitals that would not admit patients. Compared with non-admitting hospitals, admitting hospitals were more frequently engaged in various preparedness activities and more often contained basic infrastructural characteristics such as admission rooms and laboratories considered important for infection control, but some gaps and concerns were also identified. The results of this survey help to provide direction towards further preparedness activities and prioritisation thereof.