CDC methods for implementing and managing contact tracing for Ebola virus disease in less-affected countries
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CDC methods for implementing and managing contact tracing for Ebola virus disease in less-affected countries

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    1. Describe the contact tracing process and the importance of its role in stopping the chain of transmission of Ebola virus disease (EVD).

    2. Describe how to do contact tracing.

    3. Describe how to manage contact tracing after its initiation.

    4. Describe potential solutions to challenges in contact tracing.

    Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a dangerous disease with a high case fatality rate. Early symptoms of EVD are usually nonspecific and may not be immediately recognized as EVD, such as fever, severe headache, muscle pain, fatigue, or weakness. A person with EVD can spread the disease to others as soon as he or she begins to have symptoms, therefore it is critically important to identify and isolate symptomatic persons immediately to stop the disease from spreading.

    Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to eliminate transmission. People who may have been exposed to EVD are systematically followed during the maximum incubation period of 21 days from the date of most recent exposure. This process allows for the immediate identification of people who become symptomatic. Rapid identification of symptoms and prompt isolation prevents further transmission. However, contact tracing can stop EVD transmission only if it is properly prepared for, implemented, and managed. It is important to prepare ahead of time.

    This document focuses on contact tracing implementation and management in areas where there are currently no EVD cases, although it can be considered for use in any country. This document provides CDC teams with guidance for helping ministries of health to 1) prepare a country for the introduction of EVD and 2) develop standard methods to help halt EVD transmission. While this document is written to provide guidance to CDC staff, it is important to remember to adjust language to match local language and competency if used externally.

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