On April 24-25, members of the BCU attended an international high-level isolation unit (HLIU) summit at the National Institutes of Health. The summit, co-hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC), brought together 22 biocontainment units from around to world to discuss issues related to the care of patients with high consequence pathogens. As part of the summit, the Hopkins BCU team co-hosted a dinner to discuss the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomic technology and highly infectious diseases. The meeting was a great way to build relationships with teams around the world who have experience caring for patients with diseases such as Ebola, Lassa fever, MERS-CoV, Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) and SARS.
In May, we celebrated Nurses’ Week with gifts and personalized letters hand delivered to our nurses on their units. Our annual BCU-branded gift included an insulated water bottle and quarter zip warm up jacket. Our team loves showing off their BCU pride and our apparel has been a great way to spark discussion with curious co-workers about our unique role in biocontainment and infection control of highly infectious diseases.
On May 16, JHH participated in a no-notice drill organized by the Maryland Department of Health. As part of the drill, a simulated patient with suspected Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever presented to the ED with fevers, easy bruising and intractable nose bleeds. The ED team quickly recognized the possibility of a viral hemorrhagic fever and moved to isolate the fictional patient and notify HEIC. Similar drills took place at hospital through the Baltimore City region. Overall, the drill was a huge success and identified ways to further strengthen our screening and notification systems.
Some of our BCU nurse and lab orientees have graduated to become full-fledged members of our team. They have practiced the basic protocols and procedures needed to orient themselves to the role of nurse clinician and laboratory technician in biocontainment as well as had their PPE donning and doffing skills validated by our trained observers. They now wear their own BCU brand apparel with pride.
We are looking forward to our NETEC summit at the beginning of June where we will meet with other U.S. regional treatment center teams in Minneapolis.