Ebola Prevention, Protection & Information
What is Ebola? How bad is the Current Situation? Do you need Ebola Protective Gear? If so, do you need an Ebola Protection Kit? A Mask? What Kind? Why?
These are the questions we are receiving by phone, email, and social media every day.
First things first - No matter what you have heard, or what viral myths and bad news you've read; know this: Ebola is NOT spread through the air or by water.
At First-Aid-Product.com, we've long held the belief that "scare-selling", "fear-mongering", "price-gouging", and similar practices are not only despicable, but they are bad business, too. If you've been our customer over the decades, you know that in times of emergency (such as Katrina and Sandy) or during elevated threats, pandemics, and epidemics (Swine Flu, Avian Flu, or the Radiation worries after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster when failure occurred as the plant was hit by a tsunami in 2011) we sell what we sell- at the normal prices we sell them at - until they are gone. That's it. If we can restock and supply more, we do. If not, That's it. Nothing more. Moreover, we try to advise our customers and clients against unnecessary precautions and especially against hoarding. This is the case again Today with Ebola... let's look at the situation from a rational point of view - consider the risks or lack thereof, and then you can make your decisions and purchases (if any) from an informed point of view.
Let's start by saying this once again: According to all leading authorities the Ebola Virus is not airborne. (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/CDC, World Health Organization/WHO, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), National Institutes for Health (NIH) - all agree on this.) Airborne transmission of Ebola virus has been hypothesized but not demonstrated in humans. While Ebola virus can be spread through airborne particles under experimental conditions in animals, this type of spread has not been documented during human EVD outbreaks in settings such as hospitals or households.
You can only get Ebola from
• Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola.
• Touching contaminated objects, like needles.
• Touching infected animals (apes and monkeys) or their blood or other body fluids, or their meat.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and non-human primates such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and monkeys.
The virus family Filoviridae includes 3 genera: Marburgvirus, Cuevavirus, and Ebolavirus. There are 5 species that have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Taï Forest. The first 3, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, and Sudan ebolavirus have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The virus causing the largest outbreak to date - the 2014 west African outbreak - belongs to the Zaire species.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
This graphic to the right shows the life cycle of the ebolavirus. Bats are strongly implicated as both reservoirs and hosts for the ebolavirus. Of the five identified ebolavirus subtypes, four are capable of human-to-human transmission. Initial infections in humans result from contact with an infected bat or other wild animal. Strict isolation of infected patients is essential to reduce onward ebolavirus transmission. Click image to view full size.
How is Ebola Spread?
You CAN contract this deadly disease through direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, urine, vomit and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola as well as by contact with objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of an infected person or with infected animals. Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a Bloodborne Pathogen.
The virus in the blood & body fluids can enter another person’s body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth. Ebola is believed by WHO to also spread through secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people and corpses, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. The risk of EVD transmission from direct skin contact with an EVD patient is lower than the risk from exposure to blood or body fluids and may be more likely in severe illness (when the Ebola virus RNA levels are highest).
Most of the evidence regarding human-to-human transmission of Ebola virus is derived from investigations of previous Ebola outbreaks. Although the current EVD epidemic in West Africa is unprecedented in scale, the clinical course of infection (i.e., incubation period, duration of illness, case fatality rate) and the transmissibility of the virus (i.e., estimations of the basic reproductive number [R0]) are similar to those in earlier EVD outbreaks. In addition, genetic analyses of 99 Ebola virus genomes sequenced from 78 patients from the 2014 outbreak in Sierra Leone suggest that the 2014 EVD outbreak strains are very closely related to viral strains from the two most recent Ebola outbreaks in Central Africa. As has been observed in previous Ebola outbreaks, the genomic sequences from the 2014 EVD outbreak have a small number of distinct genetic changes, but it is not known if these changes have an impact on disease severity or transmissibility.
The viruses that cause Ebola are often spread among families and friends, because they come in close contact with blood or body fluids when caring for the ill.
What’s the difference between infections spread through the air or by droplets?
- Airborne spread happens when a germ floats through the air after a person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Germs may land in the eyes, mouth, or nose of another person.
If a germ is airborne, direct contact with the infected person is NOT needed for someone else to get sick. Airborne spread diseases include: chickenpox, tuberculosis.
- Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose, or mouth of
another person. Droplets travel short distances, less than 3 feet (1 meter) from one person to another.
A person might also get infected by touching a surface or object that has germs on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Droplet spread diseases include: plague, Ebola.
- Is Ebola spread through droplets?
Yes. To get Ebola, you have to directly get body fluids (like pee, poop, spit, sweat, vomit, semen, breast milk) from someone who has Ebola in
your mouth, nose, eyes or through a break in your skin or through sexual contact.
Air, food, and water do not carry the Ebola germs.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Ebola?
NOTE: A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear.
Signs and Symptoms of Ebola typically include:
- Fever (greater than 101.5°F or 38.6°C)
- Severe headaches
- Muscle pains
- Vomiting & Nausea
- Stomach pain or cramping
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases such as meningitis, malaria, and typhoid fever. Samples from patients are an extreme biohazard risk; laboratory testing on non-inactivated samples should be conducted under maximum biological containment conditions.
If a person has symptoms of Ebola and had contact with blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, contact with objects that have been contaminated with blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola or contact with infected animals, the patient should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Samples from the patient can then be collected and tested to confirm infection.
Confirmation that symptoms are caused by Ebola virus infection are made using the following investigations:
- antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
- antigen-capture detection tests
- reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
- electron microscopy
- virus isolation by cell culture.
- serum neutralization test
Symptoms may appear between 2 and 21 days from exposure to Ebola but the average is 8 to 10 days. Recovery from Ebola depends on the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years. Once a patient recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread the virus. Importantly, however, Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months. Abstinence from sex (including oral sex) is recommended for at least 3 months. According to the CDC "If abstinence is not possible, condoms may help prevent the spread of disease."
What is the Treatment for Ebola?
There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola. Currently there are no specific vaccines or medicines (such as antiviral drug) that have been proven to be effective against Ebola. Symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear.
The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival:
- Providing intravenous(IV) fluids and balancing electrolytes (body salts)
- Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure
- Treating other infections if they occur
Timely treatment of Ebola is important but challenging since the disease is difficult to diagnose clinically in the early stages of infection. Because early symptoms such as headache and fever are not specific to Ebolaviruses, cases of Ebola may be initially misdiagnosed.
Supportive therapy can continue with proper protective clothing until samples from the patient are tested to confirm infection .Supportive care-rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids- and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. There is as yet no proven treatment available for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD.) A range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. No licensed vaccines are available yet, but 2 potential vaccines are undergoing human safety testing.
Human testing of a second investigational Ebola vaccine candidate is under way at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are conducting the early phase trial to evaluate the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, for safety and its ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults who are given two intramuscular doses, called a prime-boost strategy. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is simultaneously testing the vaccine candidate as a single dose at its Clinical Trials Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.
“The need for a vaccine to protect against Ebola infection is urgent.
NIH welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct human clinical tests of another promising
— and hopefully, successful — Ebola vaccine candidate.”
—Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
NIAID researchers include principal investigator Richard T. Davey, M.D., and co-investigator John Beigel, M.D., of NIAID’s Division of Intramural Research, Early human testing of another investigational Ebola vaccine co-developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) began in early September. Initial data on safety and immunogenicity (the capacity to generate an immune response) from clinical trials of the NIAID/GSK Ebola vaccine are expected by the end of 2014.
How bad is the Ebola situation in the US?
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history. This outbreak is affecting multiple countries in West Africa, and CDC has confirmed the first travel-associated cases of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. About half the people who have gotten Ebola in this outbreak have died. At the time of this posting, there were two (2) travel-related cases and two (2) Localized Transmission cases of Ebola Disease in the USA - one (1) death. Although the risk of Ebola spreading in the United States is very low, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and its partners are taking actions to prevent this from happening.
During outbreaks of Ebola, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and the family and friends of a person infected with Ebola.
All cases of human illness or death from Ebola have occurred in Africa (with the exception of several laboratory contamination cases: one in England and two in Russia and one travel-related death in the US). One travel-associated case was diagnosed in the United States on September 30, 2014. On October 12, 2014, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient has tested positive for Ebola. CDC confirms that the healthcare worker is positive for Ebola. This infected a healthcare worker at the care facility, who was admitted for care at an NIH (National Institutes for Health) facility on October 16, 2014. This Dallas nurse was released October 24th from the NIH Clinical Center, and is now virus free according to NIH officials.
The CDC recognizes that even a single case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States raises concerns. Knowing the possibility exists, medical and public health professionals across the country have been preparing to respond. CDC and public health officials in Texas are taking precautions to identify people who have had close personal contact with the ill person and health care professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times.
Is there a danger of Ebola spreading in the U.S.? Ebola is not spread through casual contact; therefore, the risk of an outbreak in the U.S. is very low. Health authorities know how to stop Ebola’s further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill person, and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms. The U.S. public health and medical systems have had prior experience with sporadic cases of diseases such as Ebola. In the past decade, the United States had 5 imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola (1 Marburg, 4 Lassa). None resulted in any transmission in the United States.
Are people who were on the plane with this patient at risk? A person must have symptoms to spread Ebola to others. The ill person did not exhibit symptoms of Ebola during the flights from West Africa and CDC does not recommend that people on the same commercial airline flights undergo monitoring. The person reported developing symptoms five days after the return flight. CDC and public health officials in Texas are taking precautions to identify people who have had close personal contact with the ill person and health care professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times.
The CDC has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to help coordinate technical assistance and control activities with partners. CDC has deployed several teams of public health experts to the West Africa region and plans to send additional public health experts to the affected countries to expand current response activities. Airport screenings for Ebola are now beginning at JFK, O’Hare, Hartsfield, Newark and Dulles Airports for travelers returning from or through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The screening procedure will include passengers having their temperature taken with non-contact thermometers and answering questions to determine their potential exposure.
If an ill traveler arrives in the U.S., CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These protocols include having airline crew notify CDC of ill travelers on a plane before arrival, evaluation of ill travelers, and isolation and transport to a medical facility if needed. CDC, along with Customs & Border Patrol, has also provided guidance to airlines for managing ill passengers and crew and for disinfecting aircraft. CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice reminding U.S. healthcare workers about the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and isolate patients with suspected cases, and how to protect themselves from infection.
Although the outbreak in West Africa is increasing exponentially, Ebola is not as contagious as many other infectious diseases. Transmission requires direct contact with infected body fluids. Measles, influenza and pertussis (whooping cough) on the other hand, are spread by respiratory secretions. They are much more explosive because transmission does not require direct contact with an infected person. Enterovirus is a greater risk, especially to children, in the US right now.
The speed with which an outbreak grows is dependent upon additional people infected by each infectious case and the time interval between infections. The current Ebola numbers show that one person with Ebola will on average infect only 1.5 to 2.2 additional people. The relatively low number of people infected by a single case should make it easier to halt transmission. Facilitating control is the fact that a person with Ebola is most infectious only after the onset of signs and symptoms, and no longer once cured.
Comparatively, a person with measles is infectious for several days before they become sick, when there is no easy way to know they are spreading the disease. A person with measles will on average infect 12 to 18 additional people. This year 594 measles cases have been reported in the United States through September 29th, the most in two decades. These cases represent 18 measles outbreaks in 22 states.
An estimated 122,000 people - mostly children - worldwide died of measles in 2012, about 330 measles deaths every day. In the US the increasing number of measles cases is mostly due to people visiting countries with measles outbreaks and carrying the virus back home and into communities in which large numbers of people are not vaccinated.
Measles is also becoming a public health problem in countries affected by Ebola. Immunization services have ceased in many affected areas as health care workers are redeployed to fight Ebola and the public loses confidence in the health care system. Cases of measles have been reported in Liberia and may spread to neighboring countries and beyond.
How can you prevent Ebola Infection?
- PROTECT YOURSELF
- PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
- PROTECT YOUR COMMUNITY
...From the Ebola Virus.
Remember - Ebolavirus is a Blood Borne Pathogen - so first and foremost, remember to practice the same Universal Precautions you would whenever coming into contact with Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM):
- Avoid contact with the blood or body fluids of an injured casualty while providing care.
- When possible, use non-latex or some form of protective gloves, barrier masks, and other appropriate articles of Personal Protective Equipment.
- Wash hands, and any exposed area with soap and warm water immediately after engaging in First Aid practices or coming into contact with another person who may have been exposed to a BBP..
- Immediately report any suspected exposure incident to a physician for evaluation and treatment.
The basis behind Universal Precautions is that it may be difficult or impossible to tell if an individual may have an infectious disease.
With this in mind, it is important to treat ALL casualties as if they are known to be infectious. Universal Precautions means that personal protective equipment, cautious treatment procedures, proper cleanup, and conscientious reporting must be observed EVERY TIME with EVERYBODY.
- Always wash your hand thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap. Hand Sanitizers can add additional protection.
- Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
- Cook all foods, especially meats, thoroughly.
- Cover up in the presence of anyone even suspected of contagion (masks, gloves, impermeable gowns, and goggles and/or face shields)
- Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 100.4°F/ 38.0°C or higher) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility. Tell your doctor about any recent contact with an infected (or possibly infected) person, any travel (especially to West Africa) and your symptoms BEFORE you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room. Calling before you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room will help the staff care for you and protect other people.
- Touch people with signs of Ebola or that have died of Ebola.
- Touch clothes or bedding or handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids like needles, or medical equipment.. Also do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
- Touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
NEW EBOLA CONTRACEPTIVE AND PROTECTIVE ADVICE FROM THE CDC!
- Use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered hospital disinfectant with a label claim for a non-enveloped virus (e.g., norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) to disinfect environmental surfaces in rooms of patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus infection. Although there are no products with specific label claims against the Ebola virus, enveloped viruses such as Ebola are susceptible to a broad range of hospital disinfectants used to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces. In contrast, non-enveloped viruses are more resistant to disinfectants. As a precaution, selection of a disinfectant product with a higher potency than what is normally required for an enveloped virus is being recommended at this time. EPA-registered hospital disinfectants with label claims against non-enveloped viruses (e.g., norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) are broadly antiviral and capable of inactivating both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses.
- Sanizide Germicidal Solution is a disinfectant with label claims against non-enveloped viruses (Norovirus & Poliovirus)
According to the CDC & WHO - When cases of the disease do appear, there is increased risk of transmission within healthcare settings. Therefore, healthcare workers must be able to recognize a case of Ebola and be ready to use appropriate infection control measures. The aim of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected patient.
The role of the environment in transmission has not been established. Limited laboratory studies under favorable conditions indicate that Ebolavirus can remain viable on solid surfaces, with concentrations falling slowly over several days. In the only study to assess contamination of the patient care environment during an outbreak, virus was not detected in any of 33 samples collected from sites that were not visibly bloody. However, virus was detected on a blood-stained glove and bloody intravenous insertion site. There is no epidemiologic evidence of Ebolavirus transmission via either the environment or fomites that could become contaminated during patient care (e.g., bed rails, door knobs, laundry). However, given the apparent low infectious dose, potential of high virus titers in the blood of ill patients, and disease severity, higher levels of precaution are warranted to reduce the potential risk posed by contaminated surfaces in the patient care environment.
Whether in a healthcare setting or elsewhere, when suspicion of contagion with Ebola exists, appropriate procedures include:
- isolation of patients with Ebola from contact with unprotected persons
- wearing of protective clothing (including masks, gloves, impermeable gowns, and goggles or face shields) by persons caring for Ebola patients
- the use of other infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
- Avoid touching the bodies of patients who have died from Ebola
NOTE: CDC has issued a Warning, Level 3 travel notice for U.S. citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. CDC has downgraded the travel notice for Nigeria to a Watch, Level 1 because of the decreased risk of Ebola in Nigeria. Travelers to Nigeria should practice usual precautions. CDC has also issued an Alert, Level 2 travel notice for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A small number of Ebola cases have been reported in the DRC, though current information indicates that this outbreak is not related to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. For travel notices and other information for travelers, visit the CDC's Travelers’ Health Ebola web page.
“We recognize that even a single case of Ebola in the United States seems threatening, but the simple truth is that we do know how to stop the spread of Ebola between people.”
—Beth Bell, MD, MPH, Director of the
National Center for Emerging and
Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola HF) Information, Updates, Prevention, Protection: Facts vs. Fiction
PLEASE NOTE The CDC states that "Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. " so if you are concerned about contracting Ebola from an infected person, know that Ebola is generally spread by blood-to-blood or blood-to-mucous (eyes, nose, mouth) contact and you may find better ebola prevention products in our Bloodborne Pathogen Protection Items.
Barrier nursing techniques include:
- Wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
- The use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
- Isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.
The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or secretions of an infected patient. If a patient with Ebola HF dies, it is equally important that direct contact with the body of the deceased patient be prevented.
The prevention of Ebola HF presents many challenges. Because it is still unknown how exactly people are infected with Ebola HF, there are few established primary prevention measures.
When cases of the disease do appear, there is increased risk of transmission within health care settings. Therefore, health care workers must be able to recognize a case of Ebola HF and be ready to employ practical viral hemorrhagic fever isolation precautions or barrier nursing techniques. They should also have the capability to request diagnostic tests or prepare samples for shipping and testing elsewhere.
Signs and Symptoms of Ebola HF:
- Joint and muscle aches
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
Some patients may experience:
- A Rash
- Red Eyes
- Sore throat
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bleeding inside and outside of the body
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus though 8-10 days is most common.
Some who become sick with Ebola HF are able to recover, while others do not. The reasons behind this are not yet fully understood. However, it is known that patients who die usually have not developed a significant immune response to the virus at the time of death. Learn more at CDC or learn about Ebola Protection Here