Treatment of cases

The priority is to organize the treatment of cases rather than become involved in the clinical management, and concentrating time on investigating the outbreak and instigating control. This should be by:

• setting up emergency treatment centres or arranging transport of cases to hospital;

• mobilization of staff, medicines and equipment according to need;

• formulation of a standard treatment schedule;

• making rules on period of quarantine, management of contacts, prevention of carriers and disposal of the dead.

As the epidemic means a large number of cases of a single disease, once the diagnosis has been made, the treatment of all the cases will be the same. There may be a complicated case that requires special attention, but the priority of the investigating doctor is to interrupt transmission and bring the epidemic to an end. A standard treatment schedule should be devised and all available staff at every level made available to help with treating the cases. Instead of trying to bring all the cases to a hospital, it may be better to set up emergency treatment centres in the proximity of the outbreak. Schools, community centres, religious buildings and warehouses can be utilized for this purpose. Not only does this avoid the problem of transporting cases, but frees the hospital from fresh contamination or disruption.

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