Ebola – What You Need to Know

 Ebola – What You Need to Know

By Dr. Arthur Bradley

ebola 300x168 Ebola – What You Need to Know

With the recent outbreak of Ebola, I thought it might be helpful to put together a short set of questions and answers relating to this disease. I invite you to share it with friends and family.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a class of viruses that cause Ebola virus disease (a.k.a. Ebola hemorrhagic fever). Initial symptoms are similar to the common flu, including malaise, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, and headaches. Symptoms can begin anywhere from within a few days to as much as a few weeks. Those initial symptoms are later followed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased function of the liver and kidneys, and bleeding.

How is the disease transmitted from person to person?

Transmission requires coming into contact with the blood or bodily fluids (i.e., blood, vomit, feces, semen, etc.) of an infected animal or person.

Does the person really die by bleeding from their eyes?

Not usually, no. While Ebola can indeed cause a hemorrhagic rash, bleeding from mucus membranes, and vomiting, coughing up, and passing of blood, the amount of blood loss is usually not enough to be fatal. Rather, the cause of death is usually multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS).

How is the disease treated?

Ebola hemorrhagic fever has no specific treatment beyond standard oral rehydration and the use of intravenous fluids. There are also no approved vaccines for humans.

How lethal is Ebola?

The mortality rate can vary between 50% and 90%. The current strain ravaging Africa has a mortality rate of approximately 60%.

How many people have died in 2014 from Ebola?

As of this writing, 1,320 cases have been reported since February, of which there have been 729 deaths. This includes two US aid workers (Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol) who contracted the disease while treating infected patients in Africa. Most infections have occurred in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

Might Ebola become a global pandemic?

Experts say probably not. They cite three reasons. First, spreading the virus requires close contact with an infected or recently deceased person. Second, most cases are currently in remote regions of the world. And third, patients die very quickly, leaving less time for exposure.

What are they doing in Africa to stop the spread?

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma declared a state of emergency, announcing that “extraordinary measures” will be taken, including sealing off towns and homes, restricting public gatherings, conducting active surveillance and house-to-house searches to track Ebola victims, and establishing new screening protocols at the airport. Additionally, Nigerian government health authorities are tracking down tens of thousands of people who are believed to be at risk of contracting Ebola.

What are we doing in the US to prevent its spread?

To date, not much. Experts believe that the risk of widespread transmission is still quite low. There have been discussions about changing passenger-screening rules in airports, as well as providing air-ambulance services for Ebola victims, but neither have yet been enacted.

Are we really bringing Ebola-infected people into the US?

Yes, both Dr. Brantly and Ms. Writebol are US citizens, and a decision was made to bring them to the US for the best possible medical care. They are being flown in to Dobbins Air Reserve base near Atlanta and will be transferred to the hospital in a special ambulance.

Is this a good idea?

It depends on who you ask. If you ask the victims’ families, the answer would almost certainly be yes. If you ask medical professionals, the answers will vary. Many cite the unnecessary risk to the patients as well as to the broader US population.

What are the chances that this patient transfer could result in an outbreak?

Experts say that it is very low, but not zero. The two patients will be confined to a specially equipped isolation unit in Emory University Hospital. This unit was established 12 years ago and was developed in collaboration with the CDC. It had previously been used to treat a patient with SARS.

But couldn’t something go wrong?

Of course. Whether it is the result of an accident or something more intentional, there is a risk that the virus will get out of the hospital. Another possibility is that it could contaminate someone while the patients are being transported to the hospital.

Should I worry for my family’s safety?

Worrying is counterproductive. Your family is in far more danger of dying in a house fire or on the nation’s highways. With that said, it would be prudent to be aware of the danger that this virus poses, not only through the transfer of these two poor individuals, but also from other potentially infected travelers. Ebola is a very serious disease that has the ability to devastate our entire world should it ever become widespread. Every family should be prepared for a worst case outbreak of Ebola or other infectious diseases.

What steps should we take to prepare?

Ebola is the type of disaster that reminds of us the Golden Rule of disaster preparedness: Whenever possible, get out of its way. There is no cure for this horrible disease, and essentially no treatment other than trying to keep victims from dying of dehydration. The bottom line is that you don’t want to catch it. If the virus were to get out, your family would be well served by staying away from other people. That includes stores, schools, and work. To do this implies that you would need a large quantity of supplies, of which food and water would be at the top of the list.

As outlined in the Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, it is best to start by developing a complete disaster preparedness plan that addresses all fourteen needs. If you don’t already have a disaster preparedness plan, I strongly encourage that you take an afternoon to put one together. A plan will help to ensure that you make reasonable and effective preparations for this and other disasters. Basic preparedness information is provided for free at http://disasterpreparer.com, or you can purchase a copy of the handbook for a more complete reference.

Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness

The Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness has been repeatedly praised for providing effective guidance to individuals and families interested in getting better prepared. It emphasizes practical preparations and avoids the scare tactics of many other books.

The 440-page handbook is a complete guide to creating a practical disaster preparedness plan. The 3rd Edition has been expanded to cover every important topic, including food storage, water purification, home improvements, electricity generation, backup heating, personal protection, financial preparations, communication systems, disaster preparedness networks, evacuations, life-saving first aid, and much more. An entire chapter is also provided for people with special needs, including the elderly, those with young children, people with disabilities, and pet owners.

Inside the handbook are hundreds of photographs, tables, and useful tips. The new larger 8″ x 10″ format also includes easy-to-copy worksheets to help organize your family’s preparedness plans. Working through the steps identified in this book will prepare your family for nearly any disaster, whether it be natural disasters making the news daily (e.g., earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis), or high-impact global events, such as electromagnetic pulse attacks, radiological emergencies, solar storms, or our country’s impending financial collapse.

Discover why this handbook is being praised by emergency management experts, preppers, church groups, survivalists, bloggers, soccer moms, and people from every walk of life. Now is the time to take responsibility for your family’s safety by putting into place important emergency preparations.

Please forward this educational post to friends and family so that they might better understand the worst Ebola outbreak in human history.

If you have any additional questions about the disease or disaster preparedness, please write me at arthur@disasterpreparer.com.

Best wishes,

Arthur Bradley

Comments

  1. UNDER JSC HOUSTON TEXAS NASA building 47 is a underground lab system and living quarters that was built self sealed in case astronauts came back with a disease from first moon landing. This could be used safe area from exposure from EBOLA and keep people safe. I know cause I was a fire protection specialists at NASA.

  2. What a logical and well developed article! I am also glad to have discovered the author and his other fiction/nonfiction through this post. After being of ‘the mindset’ for years, the number of new resources gets overwhelming and I tend to fall back to the ‘classics’ on preparedness (and updates to them if existent) Finding a new resource is timely as I need a re-charge.. MD’s blog again proves its value to me. By the way, we have been paying attention to Ebola in our household and the responses are ranging from one child saying “gotta die someday – who cares?” to the other one doing copious research on the virus and bringing me printouts from scientific journals.. And then there’s the reluctant spouse caught in between two worlds (I call it reality versus disney) that I have been ‘working on’ for many years . Regarding Ebola, she bounces in between a depressed state of helplessness and dismissing it as another scare ‘that could never happen here’. Biggest challenge remains getting spouse on board.

  3. It is my understanding that a person my be contagious for as much as 3 weeks before exhibiting more than flu like symptoms. Can the author address this ?

    • seeuncourt says:

      That should be thumbs up…sorry, I’m all thumbs!

    • I’m not the author, but most of the literature I’ve seen says one isn’t shedding virus until they have fever. Due to the danger to the people doing the research, I doubt very much real research has been done to prove or disprove this theory, most likely it’s conjecture based on the behavior of other viruses, which may not be a good thing. These filo-viruses are pretty new to science, having been discovered in Europe in 1967. I don’t believe virologists fully understand how these viruses enter the human cell.

      One of the things the media and doctors keep repeating is that the virus can only spread through contact with bodily fluids. One wonders how doctors, who should have been fully suited up, could have contracted the disease in the first place. I’ve seen research(linked below) that proves once the virus gets in the lungs and upper respiratory system it can be transmitted through the air in droplets expelled through coughing. I guess technically that’s bodily fluid, but it only take 1-7 particles of the virus for infection, so a tiny bit coughed into the air can be deadly. FAA protocol calls for suspected cases to have masks when on planes. That’s telling.

      http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/121115/srep00811/full/srep00811.html

    • It’s true that the initial symptoms could be delayed as much as a few weeks. The average time to start showing symptoms is around 12-13 days. That means that a person could travel overseas, contract the disease, return to his/her loved ones and then start showing symptoms. Scary scenario. Remember, the virus can be transmitted by kissing as well as by sex, meaning that it would likely be transmitted to loved ones under this scenario. The only good news to be had is that people are often not very contagious until after they have started to show flu-like symptoms, making it less likely that they are going to be kissing their loved ones.

  4. I have sympathy for the Americans who developed ebola in their efforts to save Africans from ebola. But it makes no sense to bring them here to a continent with no ebola. We have now introduced ebola to the U.S. The doctors will tell us the chance of transmitting this disease is very very slim. There reasoning is that the doctors will take precautions to prevent contamination. What they don’t say is these American health workers were doing exactly that when they contracted ebola. Hmmmm! So what a “very very slim chance” really means is what exactly?

    • I have sympathy for them as well, but they volunteered to go to Africa and fight the disease, knowing the danger and accepting the risk. I didn’t, so I shouldn’t be put at risk for them. Nor should their country, or the entire continent for that matter.

    • As far as the comment above – introducing ebola into the US… Let’s be realistic: It’s here, has very likely been here (in highly controlled labs) for decades – along with some other more well know viruses. It’s a sad reality that the EXTREMELY poor handling and accountability of some of these lethal products/Intentional release will more likely be the cause of an outbreak/pandemic.

  5. Bam Bam said it is airborne.

    I have an opinion on this.

    I suspect a patent of ebola doesn’t need to have a fever first to spread the disease if they harbor the virus and neither do animals who have the virus in them that spread the disease with no symptions. It may be a full blown virus population when the symptions occur, but right before it is a full blown infection, it can still spread.

    Article says Ebola is a very serious disease that has the ability to devastate our entire world should it ever become widespread, but experts say it won’t be a global pandemic because it needs close contact—
    (but experts say it is viable on surfaces for 3 days no where near the ebola patient, and it is airborne and can be circulated in closed areas with patient sneezing, coughing, spitting, and moisture ladden breathing requiring masks to prevent it from spreading, not to mention full body suits like the exposed doctor/patient had to wear going to the hospital when he arrived. I don’t buy extra precautions were made in this case, I think it is maditory for this disease)

    And the experts say patients die very quickly, leaving less time for exposure.—
    (when patients get the disease, they say it takes 3 to 21 days for incubation, and as I mentioned before I believe it can be contagous before a fever breaks at its highest virus # count. The doctor/patient has had symptoms for many days, and the nurse/patient tested positive for ebola as long. That’s a lot of exposure time, and why I believe it is spreading so fast in West Africa and Samaritan Purse doctors reports say even the health care workers spread the disease to their new patients in hospitals for something else)

    Ken Izaaks from Samaritan Purse said the peak has not come yet for the disease.

    Stories like this always puts out misinformation at first, but this isn’t a missing Maylasian plane, this is a contagous deadly disease that media outlets need to inform the public with the real facts.

  6. It’s a virus. It couldn’t hurt to stock up on some natural antivirals. Even if the government had a vaccine, I’d rather take my chances with some elderberry or olive leaf extract.

  7. Someone has to clean the bed, room, mattress etc for the next patient. Even if you are burning sheets, putting rubber sheets underneath, etc you have to scrub down the mattress and all furniture in the room. The act of doing this cleaning will put the virus into the Cleaning materials and result in splatter. We don’t know if Lysol or Clorox will kill it, do we? I think this is one way people are catching the disease, not just “funeral practices”. It is extremely arrogant to think we are so advanced. We don’t know how to kill this virus, and it seems to me we are just like people in the Middle Ages who wore gloves, special robes, and funny masks to “keep their distance” from plague victims. Seems just like the current gowning protocol to me. I was thinking today that a Navajo hogan or a Longhouse would be a viable solution – after the contagion, the structure could be burned or destroyed. A yurt would work, but it’s too cold where I live.

  8. BullDogBeau says:

    I’m not surprised that they brought the two U.S. Citizens back for treatment. It’s concerning but for me it’s life as usual with out much new concern really.

    Where I’m going to get concerned is if or when there is a new infection in the U.S. A person with Ebola that wasn’t quarantined and they have to investigate how they contracted the virus.

    I am too curious of the legitimacy of Ebola not being “Airborne” or not being transfered from a sneeze? How long the virus will live outside the host in said fluid?

    It comes down to I have no confidence in almost any Federal Government Agency to do things right, just and without an agenda that goes against our freedoms.

  9. Hunker-Down says:

    Martial law is in effect, hiding under the guise of health safety.
    If we are identified as a communicable disease carrier because of a runny nose, by a cop with no knowledge of isolation procedures and get thrown into a common holding tank with Ebola victims, we are dead.

    • You’re right, and that is why many families in Africa are hiding their sick. They don’t want them to be put in these ebola quarantine centers. So what happens is that people who do have ebola are being hidden by their relatives. I read where one of the countries, Guinea maybe, has declared a state of emergency and will start house-to-house searches looking for the sick.

  10. Here is another well written post –
    http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2014/08/two-ebola-sufferers-coming-to-georgia.html

    Seems to have a different take on the dangers.

  11. Texanadian says:
    • Thisall H says:

      “Woman dies in London getting off of flight”

      she tested Negative for Ebola

      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28634903

    • Near the end of this article, it does say that the woman tested negative for ebola – but if you miss that one line, you are left with the impression that she actually died from ebola. I felt that the officials who described the impossibility of ebola entering the UK via flight passenger from Africa because of the grand health care system there kind of smug.

      B

  12. Why is the condition of Dr Brently being with held from the public? In the event of death, how can the bodies of these victims be put to rest without futher risk to us?

  13. Fenland Prepper says:

    The simple scary fact is if Ebola is capable of spreading to other countries it will, with or without our help.
    But moving people to other countries while infected is insane.
    It’s time to check your preps and be ready for a long term stay behind closed doors.
    Many “healthy” people would try to leave the quarantined area, many would hide their sick indoors.
    I gues we can look forward to the old movie with Dustin Hoffman, Outbreak, except this time there is no cure, and yes I do think the military would be prepared to wipe out a town!
    So if it shows up in a town you need to bug out fast, no contact no stopping no waiting for the shutdown and the road blocks. Head for the hills!

Speak Your Mind

*