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Why You Should Not Over Worry About Ebola

Why You Should Not Over Worry About Ebola

With the recent news that a second health care worker has contracted the Ebola virus at a Dallas hospital while tending to the Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, fears of Ebola are now magnifying. Are these fears justified? Before you reach for your hazmat suit, let us look at the facts.

A Brief History of the Ebola Virus

Named after the Ebola River in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Ebola was first discovered in 1976. The first outbreak infected 300 people. There are different strains of the virus ranging from Ebola-Zaire (EBOZ), Ebola Reston (EBOR), and Ebola Cote d-Ivoire (EBO-CI). Although Ebola’s natural reservoir has not been identified directly, it has been theorized that it might be apes, monkeys, fruit bats or a combination thereof. Scientists now believe that apes catch it from eating food on which bats have left bodily fluids, such as saliva, or by coming into contact with surfaces covered in the bodily fluids of infected bats. According to Doctors Without Borders, the current 2014 outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where the hunting and consumption of bats is common.

Mechanisms of the Ebola virus

The Ebola virus infects cells by injecting its viral RNA into the host cell. Once in the host cell, the Ebola virus makes more copies of the itself, which, in turn, infect other cells. This is a mechanism that many viruses utilize to infect their host. To better understand this concept, imagine the way a person commits identity theft. A hacker will take over one person’s email account and use that account to break down the barriers of other accounts.

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How contagious is the Ebola Virus? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person infected with Ebola can only spread the disease when symptoms appear. This is usually called the incubation period. For Ebola, this period is 2-21 days on average.

Treatment

Although there are currently no drugs or vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat or prevent Ebola, there have been signs of hope. Dr. Kent Brantly donated his plasma to Dallas nurse Nina Phama who was infected when treating Thomas Eric Duncan. The plasma includes antibodies and may help a patient’s resistance to the virus. Dr. Kent Brantly also donated plasma to the first Ebola patient treated in Omaha, Dr. Rick Sacra, who has recovered from the disease.

Prevention

In order to avoid infection, one must avoid direct contact (either through broken skin or through eyes, nose, or mouth) with anyone that is showing symptoms of severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, stomach pain and/or unexplained bleeding. Also, one should practice careful hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. One thing to keep in mind is that the Ebola virus does not transmit through the air like the flu. The virus can also be easily killed on surfaces utilizing bleach and alcohol-based products.

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What is being done to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus?

There are numerous resources and organizations which are devoted to maintaining active surveillance on the Ebola virus and supporting at-risk countries to develop preparedness plans that could limit further spread. The CDC and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are working with U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners to contain the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa and prepare for possible outbreaks in other countries.

Local departments of health, such as the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), are sending out memos to all healthcare staff in large and small organizations that outline how to report Ebola on a timely basis, how to identify symptoms and ask for travel history, and how to protect themselves and patients from contracting and spreading of the virus.

The CDC as well as state health authorities are also closely monitoring all persons that have come into contact with confirmed Ebola cases.

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Healthcare organization across the Unites States are also preparing by assembling teams to combat further spread of the virus. One example is The Mount Sinai Health System in New York, which is in the process of creating an Ebola SWAT team that can respond immediately to any of its facilities. The team of infectious-disease experts will help with the intake process of any patient that might be infected with the virus. This also includes setting up protocols designed to keep a patient in isolation prior to the team’s arrival.

According to the American Medical Association (AMA) the CDC is also establishing an Ebola response team that will be dispatched to any hospital in the country that has a confirmed case of Ebola. The team will include experts in infection control, laboratory science, personal protective equipment and management of Ebola units.

Although a deadly disease, the average person should not fear catching Ebola. Unlike the flu virus that can spread around the world in a few days or weeks, the mode of transmission of Ebola causes localized outbreaks that can usually be contained.  

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Further information on Ebola can be found on:

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en/

http://nysaap.org/pdf/NYSDOHEbolaUpdate.pdf

Featured photo credit: Picture captured by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

1. Smart Door Locks

A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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2. Smart Kitchen Tools

Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

5. Nest Thermostat

This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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6. Smart Lighting

Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

7. Google Chromecast Ultra

Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

8. Canary

This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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