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Should People With Infectious Diseases Be Allowed in EMS?

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I draw your attention to the Americans with Disabilities Act which states that if a worker with an infectious disease is to be singled out then ALL workers with ANY infectious disease also have to be singled out including (but not limited to): the common cold, the flu, herpes, cold sores etc etc

This (and other) legislation exists for a very good reason! In fact, I am surprised that so called healthcare professionals are even considering that persons with infectious diseases shouldn't be permitted to work in EMS.

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My contention throughout this has been for the infection of the patient, not whether an EMT that has been injured in the past should remain in the field.

Just one last word about the infection of the patient. This portion of an article may be a some interest...or maybe not...

Beyond the hospital, traditional nosocomial strains of MRSA are increasingly implicated as the cause of "healthcare-associated" infections. These MRSA infections are generally seen in individuals who have ongoing interactions with the healthcare system (eg, dialysis patients) and it is crucial for clinicians to remember that infections may develop in these individuals as outpatients (Shorr, 2008).

The most comprehensive assessment of MRSA epidemiology was recently published by Klevens and colleagues (Napolitano, 2008). These CDC investigators conducted active, population-based surveillance in 9 sites in the United States. MRSA infections were classified as healthcare-associated (either hospital-onset or community-onset) or community-associated (patients without established healthcare risk factors for MRSA). Nearly 40% of infections met the criteria for healthcare-associated infection. The mortality rate in patients with healthcare-associated infections was 4 times greater than in patients with community-associated infections. The authors estimated that annually in the United States there are > 94,000 cases of invasive infection caused by MRSA and 18,650 MRSA-related deaths, exceeding the mortality rate for HIV disease (Napolitano, 2008). Of concern, the USA 300 CA-MRSA strain was a leading cause of sepsis, pneumonia, and bacteremia in both healthcare-associated and community-associated infections. Therefore, providers must be cognizant that there are multiple strains of MRSA that may differentially respond to certain antibiotics and can lead to infection. Future trends are difficult to predict as CA-MRSA may not supplant traditional MRSA in the hospital or it could coexist in equilibrium with it. Of importance, these data again underscore the need for physician practice to change in response to shifting microbiologic and epidemiologic trends.


Napolitano LM. Community-acquired and healthcare-associated MRSA: implications for

practice. Prevention strategies to reduce the rate of MRSA infections in critical care. Paper presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) 37th Critical Care Congress; February 4, 2008; Honolulu, Hawaii.

Shorr, A. (2008, April 7). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the Community

and the Hospital. Retrieved April 10, 2008, from Medscape Nurses Web site: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/572589...amp;uac=64181AX

These are the real HCW related infections out there..not some hypothetical 'HIV transmission from EMT to patient' phobia..

If you do ECF transfers, IFTs, or general 911 response, the acquisition and transmission of these bacteria are a probability, not a possibility. especially in the "sanitary" conditions of an ambulance..So who's out of a job today?? :roll:

...Just sayin' :lol:


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