The development of a protocol for post-mortem management of Ebola virus disease in the setting of developed countries
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- Leditschke, J., Rose, T., Cordner, S. et al. Forensic Sci Med Pathol (2015) 11: 262. doi:10.1007/s12024-014-9652-6
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The management of the recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic continues to pose currently insuperable challenges to health care providers in the resource-deprived countries of West Africa. In an age where air travel facilitates rapid movement of people between countries and continents, there is an urgent requirement for health systems around the globe to develop management strategies and protocols in the event that EVD cases are suspected or confirmed. Departments of forensic pathology play an important, and underestimated, role in public health service delivery, particularly at times of novel infectious disease emergence. This role can include disease identification, characterization, and notification, as well as close engagement with agencies responsible for disease surveillance and treatment provision. A mass outbreak of EVD in the Western world is considered highly unlikely; however, there is clear responsibility on departments of forensic pathology to develop protocols for rapid assessment of sporadic or suspected cases while ensuring the health and safety of mortuary and pathology personnel. The Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine have collaborated on the development of a protocol for management of EVD cases presenting at a scene or in the mortuary. It is hoped that this trans-national, inter-departmental exercise will serve as a model for future co-operative endeavors. The protocol has been distributed to forensic pathology departments around Australia and may be modified to accommodate local resource capabilities.