The Ebola virus and important facts


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Texas – Ebola can infect humans and animals, and spreads through bodily fluids. Scientists believe that fruit bats are the natural carriers of the virus. According to the World Health Organization, African pig farms often play host to bats, allowing the disease to spread from the bats to pork. Eating “bushmeat”—or the meat from wild animals, such as gorillas, monkeys, or bats—can put you at risk for exposure. Recently, the government of the Cote d’Ivoire (otherwise known as Ivory Coast)—which borders two of the countries enduing the outbreak—prohibited the sale of bushmeat.

Texas CDC chief, Thomas Frieden, said his agency will investigate how a nurse in full protective gear contracted the Ebola virus.

The woman was among caregivers for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Wednesday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. A state test finding that she had Ebola was confirmed Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the first known case transmitted in the U.S.


“At some point there was a breach in protocol,” Frieden said. “That breach in protocol resulted in this infection.”

The CDC believes the nurse that contracted the Ebola virus either improperly put on or removed her protective gear.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there “certainly had to have been an inadvertent, innocent breach of protocol of taking care of a patient within the personal protective equipment.”

“A single inadvertent slip can result in contamination,” Frieden said during a briefing.”It is up to the individual person to properly protect themselves.”

And a day after the nurse tested positive for Ebola, health officials are still trying to figure out how exactly she caught it.

The CDC concedes the Texas nurse’s case is worrisome.

“It is possible in the coming days that we will see additional cases of Ebola,” Frieden said.

The CDC said that healthcare workers should sef monitor and, if symptoms surface, they should isolate themselves immediately.

Officials said the virus doesn’t live for long outside the body. Ultraviolet rays from sunlight destroy it, as does heat. Bleach kills it and plain soap and water can wash it away. Warm body fluids such as blood, vomit and feces carry the virus. And it has to get into the body to infect you — it doesn’t soak in through the skin, for instance. It must get in through the nose, mouth, eyes, through a cut or by a needle stick.

The virus lives in saliva, semen, feces, vomit, blood, and sweat; basically any bodily fluid. The sicker a patient is, the more virus there is in the bodily fluids. Thomas Geisbert, who tests Ebola drugs and vaccines at the University of Texas Medical Branch, says using high-pressure sprays to clean animal cages can splash the virus into the air. “If you blast it, you can create a manmade aerosol,” Geisbert said. But that is not the same as the virus being airborne. It’s not. And the mess, in general, should be fresh. “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of evidence that there is going to be virus on door handles,” says Geisbert.

People who have just died of Ebola are the most infectious. CDC says people who have just died of Ebola should be placed in not one, but two sealed plastic bags and then a hermetically sealed casket.

So why do crews cleaning the apartment wear hazmat suits? Because they may be handling wet or damp soiled sheets or towels, and because cleaning may cause splashes that could carry virus-laden fluids into the eyes, nose or mouth, or if the virus splashed onto someone’s skin and they later touched it, they could carry it into their own eyes, nose or mouth.

The World Health Organization estimates more than 8,300 people have contracted Ebola during this year’s outbreak. Of those, more than 4,000 have died.

The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services told Ocala Post that they remain confident that wider spread in the community can be prevented with proper public health measures, including ongoing contact tracing, health monitoring among those known to have been in contact with an infected patient, and immediate isolations if symptoms develop.