CONTACT: Tamara Moore, 202-868-4008 tmoore@thereisgroup.com 

Healthcare Epidemiologists Ready U.S. Hospitals to Prevent and Care for Coronavirus Cases
SHEA Shares Advances in Outbreak Preparedness while Closely Monitoring Current Situation

ARLINGTON, Va. (January 31, 2020) – The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) emphasizes the importance of supporting novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) preparedness efforts with rigorous commitment to infection prevention and science-based decision making. SHEA members – healthcare epidemiologists and other experts in infection prevention and infectious diseases working in collaboration with public health – are experienced in outbreak management, having overseen preparedness and management of 2019-nCoV, SARS, MERS-CoV, H1N1, influenza, and other infectious diseases, and are working diligently to ensure safety.

SHEA works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and over the past several years has given particular focus and investment to strengthen the infection prevention and control infrastructure for preparedness and response to emerging pathogens. The SHEA/CDC Outbreak Response Training Program (ORTP), created from 2016 to 2018, is a comprehensive program for hospital epidemiologists to be maximally effective to protect their patients, colleagues, and community from facility-level outbreaks to emerging pathogens, such as 2019-nCoV. The ORTP provides expert-authored and selected resources in incident management, with tools and trainings for development and implementation of policies and identification of resources.

The 2019-nCoV outbreak illustrates the urgent and important need to continue federal funding for communicable diseases preparedness and response. The ORTP was created through congressionally appropriated funds for emergency Ebola treatment and prevention measures. Based on gaps in infrastructure, knowledge, and training identified during the response to the Ebola pandemic, this funding supported state and local activities to manage future emerging pathogen outbreaks.

SHEA continues to work with the CDC and relevant stakeholders to ensure safety and promote best practices in outbreak preparedness and response.

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The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world who possess expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. The society's work improves public health by establishing infection-prevention measures and supporting antibiotic stewardship among healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems. This is accomplished by leading research studies, translating research into clinical practice, developing evidence-based policies, optimizing antibiotic stewardship, and advancing the field of healthcare epidemiology. SHEA and its members strive to improve patient outcomes and create a safer, healthier future for all. Visit SHEA online at www.shea-online.org, www.facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and @SHEA_Epi.