Public and Global Health

Epidemiologists monitor an outbreak of different diseases in various population settings. This way, they can assist other medical practitioners in the management of such cases. However, when there is an outbreak, nurses and physicians directly interact with patients affected by a disease. Since most cases are localized in specific areas, they have an immediate effect on the population in direct contact with the affected people. As a result, nurses have to be present in this locality to manage the disease, while epidemiologists conduct research in different locations. A good example is the case of Ebola in Zaire and Congo, where nurses from all over the world converged on the two areas to help in the management of the outbreak. The paper aims to analyze the article on the Ebola disease outbreak, where nurses and other medical practitioners play important roles providing nursing care and assisting in the formulation of protection and promotional strategies aimed at reducing the transmission of diseases.

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Summary of the Article

In the article “A Review of Epidemiological Parameters from Ebola Outbreaks to Inform Early Public Health Decision-Making” by Van Kerkhove, Bento, Mills, Ferguson, and Donnelly (2015), the authors provide a review of epidemiological parameters related to Ebola, the latest communicable disease in Africa that claimed more than 10,884 lives out of 26,277 cases in West Africa last year. The piece provides an all-inclusive summary of epidemiological information used to understand the Ebola disease. The causal agent of Ebola is a virus from the Filoviridae family. Everybody is susceptible to the disease provided they come into contact with it. Investigated parameters include data from previous outbreaks, incubation period, delayed distribution, case fatality rates, as well as the basic reproduction and adequate distribution number. Van Kerkhove et al. (2015) describe Ebola as a zoonotic virus first discovered in the Congo forest in 1976 before re-emerging in other areas in the 1990s. Such type of a disease is a contagious one spread from animals to humans and vice versa enhancing the complexity of health conditions. There are different strains of the Ebola virus with varying pathogenicity. Therefore, the epidemiological triangle is influenced by several factors, including the strain of the virus and the method of transmission. The latter involves environmental conditions related to Ebola. The fruit bat is the primary carrier of the virus. Nonetheless, the authors note that several other vectors, including such primates as the Chimpanzees, cynomolgus monkeys, and gorillas, play an important role in the transmission cycle. Van Kerkhove et al. (2015) indicate that it is difficult to trace the source of a disease outbreak in humans, though the primary method of the transmission of the virus is through exposure to bodily fluids of an infected individual. Other common transmission methods include sharing contaminated needles, insufficient care among health workers treating the disease among patients, and family care. What Van Kerkhove et al. (2015) aim to show is how the transmission analytics listed above provides information on how the disease condition can be monitored.

Nurse’s Roles in Managing Disease Outbreaks

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Nurses play a crucial role during disease outbreaks. In the case of a contagious disease, they are tasked with taking care of the patient and stopping the spread or transmission of the infection (Cao et al., 2015). In the case of the Ebola virus, which has no cure, the management of the patient is given top priority. It includes providing intravenous hydration, managing diarrhea and nausea, oral nutrition, feeding and cleaning the affected person, and monitoring his or her overall progression (Cao et al., 2015). Nurses work in a dangerous environment since they come in direct contact with patients suffering from such diseases as Ebola.

Nurses are also responsible for medications, replenishing materials commonly used in the ward ,and disposing supplies. According to Cao et al.(2015), they transcribe and process orders, register new patients that arrive in the clinical setting, and fill in nursing documents. In addition, they assist other personnel in wearing personal protective equipment. Nurses carry out hourly rounds of patients and report any changes to top physicians. They are also on the forefront in answering to any emergency calls related to either an existing or a new patient (Cao et al., 2015).  They also play a major role in counselling or reassuring persons affected by the disease, as well as supervising their hygiene and nutrition. Nurse managers ensure that the clinical area where the patient is managed is never interfered with and manned to allow only the authorized personnel entering and leaving the clinical setting. They also develop schedules for different personnel to prevent incideces of overworking nurses while taking care of patients (Cao et al., 2015).

Health Protection and Promotion Strategies

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Apart from being primary caregivers in clinical settings, nurses play an important role in the external environment, especially participating in health care promotion and the development of protection strategies with the aim to reduce the rate of the transmission of a disease such as Ebola spread via bodily fluids. Nurses can choose to educate the public on the mode of the spread of this virus (Pandey et al., 2014). Essential superficial information, including clinical symptoms and steps to reduce disease transmission to other persons or parties, is commonly provided. Nurses should also explain why the screening of individuals is an important practice, especially in families where one patient has been taken ill by the disease (Pandey et al., 2014). They also provide reassurance to the community and the entire public when it comes to the management of the disease. Counselling sessions should also involve the family of the patient affected by Ebola. This way, they can coexist peacefullywith ill persons. When nurses do this, the community will become aware of specific steps they need to take in the management of the disease. Nurses shouls educate the public on measures to take in reporting any individual with clinical symptoms. Promotion and protection strategies run hand in hand in reducing transmission rates and reassuring the community that everything is done to ensure the complete management of the disease outbreak (Pandey et al., 2014). 

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