Monday, October 6, 2014

Fighting Ebola - Tips on Protecting Yourself from the Ebola Virus Disease

While the Ebola viruses are found primarily in African countries, on September 30, 2014 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Health Department confirmed the first ever case of Ebola in the United States. With this outbreak claiming more than 3,000 lives in West Africa and has a death rate of up to 90% (according to World Health Organization (WHO)), the CDC is confident that the strength of the U.S. healthcare system will help in preventing the spread of the threatening virus here in the United States.

Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically throughout Africa and since the first discovery there still is no FDA-approved vaccination for Ebola, but there are two potential vaccines undergoing human safety testing.

Exposure can occur in health care settings when staff do not wear appropriate protective equipment, such as masks, gowns and gloves. As long as precautions are taken, there is low risk of contracting EVD in a country where the disease is present.

What you need to know about Ebola (from the CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/what-need-to-know-ebola.pdf

Here are some Prevention tips from the CDC:

If you travel to or are in an area affected by an Ebola outbreak, make sure to do the following:
  • Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
  • Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • After you return, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediately if you develop symptoms of Ebola.
Healthcare workers who may be exposed to people with Ebola should follow these steps:
  • Wear protective clothing, including masks, gloves, gowns, and eye protection.
  • Practice proper infection control and sterilization measures. For more information, see “Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in the African Health Care Setting”.
  • Isolate patients with Ebola from other patients.
  • Avoid direct contact with the bodies of people who have died from Ebola.
  • Notify health officials if you have had direct contact with the blood or body fluids, such as but not limited to, feces, saliva, urine, vomit, and semen of a person who is sick with Ebola. The virus can enter the body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth
Putting on and removing person protective equipment (PPE): http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ppe-poster.pdf



For more information on the virus visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
World Health Organization (WHO):
Health Canada: