IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTIVE
CARE FOR EBOLA PATIENTS
n A World Health Organization coordinated study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, provides evidence that high-quality supportive care, especially rehydration and correction of metabolic abnormalities, contributed to the larger number of persons surviving the Ebola virus.
n Strong emphasis was placed on fluid management, enhanced levels of clinical assessment and diagnostic testing. All patients were given oral rehydration solution or intravenous fluid, and, depending on symptoms, other medications were administered.
n In the study, patients presented at hospital from three to seven days after symptom onset. Patients with the highest levels of the virus were most likely to die.
n Evidence of substantial fluid loss and profound electrolyte derangement associated with severe diarrhoea appears to increase the risk of a fatal outcome.
n One of the strongest determinants of survival appears to be patient age. Patients older than 40 years were nearly 3.5 times more likely to die than those aged less than 40.