Ebola virus disease: The use of fluorescents as markers of contamination for personal protective equipment

Academic Article


  • The recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak has created interest in personal protective equipment (PPE) content and usage. PPE testing has historically been done by individual component, rather than as a bundle for contact isolation. Fluorescent agents are commonly used in training for infection control techniques. The purpose of our study was to compare 2 PPE bundles and to evaluate the feasibility of fluorescent markers as an assessment tool for PPE effectiveness. Eight healthcare providers volunteered for this preliminary study. Participants were randomized to 1 of 2 PPE bundles that meet current (October 20, 2014) CDC recommendations. One PPE bundle utilized commercial EVD-recommended components. The other PPE bundle used components already available at local hospitals or retail stores. Participants were also randomized to standard or high volume exposures (HVE) to simulate fluid splash. Each participant was assisted in PPE donning and doffing by an experienced trainer. A training mannequin was contaminated with fluorescent agents to simulate bodily fluids. Participants were then given clinical tasks to care for the EVD "patient." De-gowned participants were examined under "black light" for fluorescence indicative of contamination. One participant in each PPE arm had evidence of contamination. One of the contamination events was suspected during the patient care exercise. The other contamination event was not suspected until black light examination. In spite of a large difference in cost of PPE, the two bundle arms performed similarly. Bundle testing using fluorescent markers could help identify optimal PPE systems.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • IDCases  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bell T; Smoot J; Patterson J; Smalligan R; Jordan R
  • Start Page

  • 27
  • End Page

  • 30
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 1