Ebola

News & Information About Ebola

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List of Hemorrhagic Fevers

Ebola is not the only virus known to cause hemorrhagic fever and it is certainly not the most common. This page serves to list many of the common viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) in a table with brief descriptions for reference. The diseases listed are those commonly found in humans and excludes those which effect animals such as rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

All forms of VHF share similar symptoms including generalized flu-like symptoms in the early stages of infection with rapid progression into the defining symptoms. The general symptoms of VHF related disease include high fever, bleeding disorders, shock and in many cases results in death. Five families of RNA viruses are considered responsible for all VHF cases with the most recent identified in 2012. The viral families are Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, Filoviridae (Ebola), Flaviviridae and Rhabdoviridae.

Name Description
Viral hemorrhagic fever Generic terms for typically life threatening fevers including Ebola and Marburg
Argentine hemorrhagic fever Caused by an arenavirus carried by corn mice
Bolivian hemorrhagic fever Caused by the Machupo virus with mortality rates between 5 and 30%
Brazilian hemorrhagic fever The Sabiá virus is responsible for the fever
Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever Spread by a Tick-borne Virus
Kyasanur forest disease Caused by Tick-borne virus from the same family as yellow fever
Lassa fever Caused by the Lassa Virus
Marburg virus disease The Marburg virus is a close relative of Ebola
Omsk hemorrhagic fever Found in Siberia caused by a Flavivirus
Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever Caused by the Guanarito virus

As you can see there are several known hemorrhagic fevers and although Ebola gets highlighted every few years during an outbreak it is certainly not the only virus to consider when a fever presents itself in a patient. Many of the diseases belonging to this category are endemic to certain areas around the world and all share the symptoms noted in late stage Ebola infections.

Ebola Update – 27 October 2014

The two year old toddler, Fanta Kone, who is believed to have contracted Ebola from her late father, has died in Mali. While the country works to trace contacts and isolate those considered most at risk, questions around the ethics of isolation have arisen in other parts of the world. Here is a summary of the day’s stories:

 

  • The NBC cameraman, Asoko Mukpo, who recovered from Ebola has described his battle with the virus to the Associated Press as being “at war” with his body. Meanwhile a nurse who was quarantined after she returned from Sierra Leone criticized the New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, for the mandatory isolation implemented for all volunteers returning from affected countries in the state, as well as the State of New York after Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed last week. Kaci Hickox said to Candy Crowley of CNN that she felt like her “basic human rights have been violated.” A civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, planned to represent the nurse and said the isolation was against her “constitutional liberty.” However, it was announced earlier today that she will be released. Hickox was kept in a tent at the back of the hospital which lacked a television, reading material, flushable toilet and shower facilities. The Nurse has tested negative for the virus to date.
  • Dr. Craig Spencer, the fourth person diagnosed with the virus in the United States, has moved into the next phase of the disease which includes gastrointestinal symptoms. He has been treated with antiviral drugs since arriving at Bellevue Hospital and has now also received plasma therapy. His fiancée will be sent home but remain under quarantine. At the same hospital a five year old is currently being tested for the virus after arriving home from a family trip to Guinea. The boy’s family is in isolation at their apartment. It is also believed that Bellevue Hospital employees are now being refused service from local stores and restaurants.
  • American soldiers who were sent to Liberia to aid in the fight against Ebola have been isolated in Vicenza, Italy. CNN, CBS and Reuters all report that 11 soldiers have been placed in quarantine, but none have shown symptoms. The pentagon described the isolation as ‘controlled monitoring’ and said that they would not be allowed to return to the United States until the 21-day period was over.
  • Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced new restrictions on people trying to enter the country on humanitarian grounds from affected nations. He said that applications will temporarily cease to be processed but added that all visa applications that have been processed prior to the change will be honored provided applicants submit themselves to a 21-day isolation before departing their home countries. Today an 18 year old who moved from West Africa to the country tested negative after being admitted for what was suspected to be the virus. The teenager will be retested on Wednesday.
  • The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Mrs. Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, has said in a press conference over the weekend that revenue collection has been negatively impacted by the Ebola outbreak. Liberia exceeded its target in the first quarter but has seen a decline as the virus has become more widespread in the nation.
  • The impact of the West African Outbreak in Sierra Leone has been widespread. It was reported that over 700 bodies have been buried in the outskirts of Freetown in the Western Rural Area since the beginning of September. Many healthcare workers have also been affected by the virus often leaving behind families who are now without income and opportunity. In response, Sierra Leone has launched the Foundation for Children of Ebola Affected Medical Workers to help aid in bringing a sense of normalcy and new education opportunities to hard hit communities.

PPE Kit List & DIY Alternatives

Personal Protection Equipment is key to preventing the spread of Ebola as healthcare workers and others rely on it to prevent being infected. If in an emergency situation you need to be in contact with an Ebola patient you may need to have an understanding of the equipment used as well as more readily available substitutes.

The below image shows a standard PPE suit but an Ebola suit requires the face, eyes, mouth and feet to be covered in addition to the basic covering depicted in the image. Many of the components of an Ebola PPE suit can be replaced with household equipment in an extreme emergency if required.

Standard PPE Suit

By Protectepi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The principal of Ebola PPE is to seal your body off from exposure as much as possible while still remaining reasonably mobile. A full PPE suit is incredibly difficult to wear for long periods of time and the longer a health worker is in PPE the higher the chance for mistakes becomes. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are very real risks while donning protective suits.

List of Equipment & Reasonable Alternatives.

Safety Goggles/Face Shield

The eyes need to be protected from possible contact with the virus at all times. A pair of safety goggles and or a face shield should provide sufficient protection in most instances. Medical safety goggles are very cheap however if needed you can replace them with hardware store goggles. A medical face shield may also be replaced with a hardware store face shield.

Coverall/Apron

The coverall and apron provide protection for the body area particularly from contact with bodily fluids. Disposable aprons and coveralls are often used by health care workers. A common replacement can be made with refuse bags. It is critical to maximize the the coverage and tape up any holes with duct tape or another strong adhesive tape.

Gloves/Feet Coverings

Health care workers wear two pairs of gloves and seal the coverall to the gloves with medical tape or duct tape. A pair of kitchen gloves could be used a reasonable alternative.

N95 Mask/Respirator

There is no confirmation that Ebola is airborne and as such it is generally sufficient to wear at least an N95 mask to protect against aerosol particles. The primary purpose of the mask is to protect the mouth from contact with the virus. N95 equivalent masks may be available at your local hardware store. In extreme situations a folded scarf or piece of cloth may provide limited protection.

Sprayers/Cleaning

HCW’s are sprayed down by another worker before and during the suit removal process. A bleach solution can be mixed at home to provide a suitable cleaning mixture. A mixture containing 3 parts of water to 1 part of beach is known to kill the Ebola virus within minutes.

Golden Rules

  • Do not touch your face
  • Do not wear a PPE suit for extended periods of time
  • Be careful when removing any equipment to avoid contact with the equipment
  • Dispose of any materials that may have had contact with the virus
  • If for any reason you must clean the equipment do so with a bleach mixture of at least 1:3.
  • Do not leave any part of your body exposed if possible.
  • Beware of bodily fluids at all times.
  • Leave the handling of Ebola and its victims to trained experts where possible.

Possibly Useful Equipment

You may have some helpful equipment nearby without realizing it.

  • UV Lights can kill viruses, you may have a “black light” in the house or if you work in a shop the fake money detector light is usually UV.
  • Garden pesticide sprayers can be used to spray a bleach or chlorine mixture. Remember to wash it well before and after use.
  • Safety goggles and face shields are often bundled with power tools.

Always remember that by coming into contact with an Ebola patient you are placing yourself at risk of infection. Health workers are often infected while adhering to strict standards and as such contact is not recommended.

Ebola Update – 24 October 2014

The Nurse, Amber Vinson, has been claimed by family members to be Ebola-free. However, while she seems to have made a recovery a fourth person has been diagnosed with the virus in the USA. Here is a round-up of the day’s news:

 

  • Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, has been named as the fourth person diagnosed with Ebola on US Soil. He worked for Doctors without Borders in Guinea and arrived back in the States on the 17th of October 2014 via Brussels. The CDC confirmed that he went through all screening measures at JFK but did not have a fever at the time. He was not isolated upon return but practiced self-monitoring. Between his arrival and hospitalization on the 23 of October 2014 he used the subway, a cab, visited a restaurant and bowling alley. Two friends and his fiancée, Morgan Dixon, are also in isolation. Earlier today social media blew up when photos of Officers dumping protective gear in a bin on a street corner circulated. However it has been claimed that they had only secured the perimeter around his apartment and were not actually in contact with any of his belongings.
  • Côte d’Ivoire is currently looking for a suspected Ebola patient. The health care worker allegedly fled from Guinea after finding out that someone treated by his clinic had died from the virus. Côte d’Ivoire recently reopened airports to flights from affected countries but land borders remain closed.
  • A two-year old girl, whose father had died from Ebola, has been hospitalized in Kayes, Mali after testing positive for the virus. She and her family members are currently in isolation. It is believed that she was brought to the country from Guinea. Meanwhile, African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma said at a meeting in Accra that medical teams have been dispatched to the three most affected nations to help fight the virus.
  • Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has joined the list of individuals who have donated to the fight against Ebola. Allen donated US $100million to help prevent and manage the virus in West Africa. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also donated US $50million to UN Agencies to help fight the epidemic.
  • A drug mule who arrived at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport in Spain has died after bags of cocaine exploded in his stomach. Staff were allegedly too scared to help the man as they feared he might have Ebola.

Mali and New York Confirm First Cases

On seemingly opposite ends of the globe two new cases of Ebola have been confirmed by respective health authorities. The Ministry of Health in Mali has confirmed the infection of a 2 year old who traveled from Guinea while New York has confirmed that a Doctor who recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for the virus.

Mali is the sixth country in West Africa to be affected by the largest recorded outbreak. It is understood that the 2 year old girl was placed in isolation along with all direct contacts on the the 23rd of October 2014. The Ministry of Health released a statement confirming the importation after a suspected case was identified at Fousseyni Daou Kayes Hospital. It is strongly suspected that at least one of the girls parents has died from Ebola recently.

In the USA a suspected case appeared at Bellevue Hospital when Dr Craig Spencer was admitted with symptoms. Significant concern has been raised about the time line for this infection after it emerged that Dr Craig Spencer may have been symptomatic while using the subway and taxi cabs. Research suggests that Ebola can survive without a host for several days. CDC officials have been dispatched to assist with the case and contact tracing has begun.

The World Health Organization and the United Nations raised concerns about the risk of case importation for Mali and Côte d’ Voire in recent weeks after reports began to emerge that the outbreak was continuing to spread in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The confirmation of a case in Mali reaffirms the statements from officials and experts in recent weeks. The outbreak must be contained in the West Africa “Hot Zone”.

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