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What You Should Know About The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Posted on July 31 2014

Oftentimes a lack of information can lead to a fear of the unknown, and when it comes to virus outbreaks, quite often the fear of the unknown can lead to panic. With experts now reporting that the Ebola outbreak in Africa is now out of control and has reached epidemic status, many people here in the US are starting to get worried and are asking questions. First of all, according to health officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ebola outbreak has not reached the US and “poses little risk to Americans,” health officials said on Monday.   Ebola is a deadly virus with a history of being up to 90% fatal, according to the World Health Organization; although CDC officials are reporting that the current Ebola outbreak in Africa is about 60% fatal, leading experts like Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the National Center for Emerging & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to believe that the more recent advancements made in early treatment methods have been effective.   Thomas Geisbert, an expert on the deadly virus and a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Institute for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston explains that “the odds are extremely low that an Ebola infection could reach the United States and spread into a full-fledged outbreak.” Geisbert also explained that while still contagious, unlike the measles, flu, or SARS viruses Ebola is not spread through the air. In order to catch the Ebola infection an individual would have to come into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected with the virus and sick enough to expel large amounts of the virus through their blood, vomit, and salvia.   Hospitals, the CDC, and other health department officials are on alert and taking precautionary measures as needed, such as restricting air travel to the affected areas and closely monitoring the family members of those who might have been exposed to the virus. Officials also want to remind the public that we have an outstanding public health infrastructure here in the United States that is set up to quickly detect, treat, and control infectious diseases, although they don’t anticipate that the Ebola infection could reach the United States.   For those who are still worried, as with preventing the spread of most other viral and bacterial infections, taking precautions to help limit direct contact can help reduce the spread of infections. It’s always a good idea to avoid contact with the other people’s bodily fluids and make it a habit to be diligent about using proper handwashing techniques. Using products like the Safetec EZ Cleans Plus Body Fluid Cleanup Kit or the Kendall Biobloc Blood and Body Fluid Spill Kits make it easier and safer to cleanup blood or other bodily fluid spills with limited exposure to the contaminants. Depending on which kit is used they come with a variety of personal protection supplies (like gloves, face masks, bio-hazard waste bags, fluid solidifying agents, scoopers/scrapers, and more), enabling potentially infectious blood and bodily fluid spill cleanups faster, safer, and easier.   Sources: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_147546.html http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/faq-ebola/en/

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