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According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report issued today (23-Sep-2014) between 550,000 and 1.4 million people in West Africa could be infected with the Ebola virus by January 20, 2015.
The top range of the estimate, 1.4 million, assumes that the number of cases officially cited so far, 5,864 according to the count kept by the World Health Organization, is significantly underreported, and that it is likely that 2.5 times as many cases, or nearly 20,000, have in fact occurred.
Ebola virus species was originally discovered in 1976 in the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa. Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and primates and one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers .
Last month NYTimes.com reported patient Zero in the current Ebola outbreak, researchers suspect, was a 2-year-old boy who died on Dec. 6, 2013 just a few days after falling ill in a village in Guéckédou, in southeastern Guinea. Bordering Sierra Leone and Liberia, Guéckédou is at the intersection of three nations, where the disease found an easy entry point to the region. A week later, it killed the boy’s mother, then his 3-year-old sister, then his grandmother. All had fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but no one knew what had sickened them.
The virus infects monkeys and apes, and some previous epidemics are thought to have begun when someone was exposed to blood while killing or butchering an infected animal. Cooking will destroy the virus, so the risk is not in eating the meat, but in handling it raw.
Ebola is also thought to infect fruit bats without harming them, so the same risks apply to butchering bats. Some researchers also think that people might become infected by eating fruit or other uncooked foods contaminated by droppings from infected bats. But no one can explain how such a small child could have become the first person infected. Contaminated fruit is one possibility. An injection with a contaminated needle is another.
The primary thing everyone needs to know is the risk of Ebola transmission is low. Becoming infected requires direct, physical contact with the bodily fluids (vomit, faeces, urine, blood, semen, etc.) of people who have been infected with or died from Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Currently there is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.
Please realize below links are just a small sample of the many resources available for health officials and first responders battling this health crisis, as well as some educational tools for the general public. Feel free to share any other sites and information you are aware of in the comments below.
Resources for Healthcare workers / First Responders:
Resources for Civilians and Businesses:
Ebola Awareness (from the Lagos State Ministry of Health)
An Overview of The Ebola Dead Body Removal Process (Mamadee Diakite, a Liberian journalist and host/producer on Truth FM/Real TV, brings the reality of what health workers go through to evacuate Ebola dead bodies in Africa. The team is overwhelmed by the many calls to remove Ebola dead bodies but it takes about four hours to accomplish one mission and these compatriots remain heroes and heroins on the front line to defeat Ebola.) Note, the first 4-1/2 minutes may be hard for some to understand due to his accent and background noise, but snippets of removal process begins shortly after that.
Some Just In Time Disaster Training Video Library videos about Ebola:
Again, these links are just some of the many resources available so please share other sites, updates and information you are aware of in below comments.
Check out this amazing story about 22-year-old Fatu Kekula who saved three relatives from Ebola in West Africa. She nursed her father, mother, sister and cousin single-handedly feeding them, cleaning them and giving them medications. Three out of her four patients survived. That's a 25% death rate -- considerably better than the estimated Ebola death rate of 70%.
Fatu, who's in her final year of nursing school, invented her own equipment since she had no PPE. International aid workers heard about Fatu's "trash bag method" and are now teaching it to other West Africans who can't get into hospitals and don't have protective gear of their own. Read full story on CNN
Healthcare workers and first responders ... please review and follow the protocols in above links and resources..!
U.S. Ebola news as of 2-Oct-2014: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital officials apparently failed to follow federal guidelines in their initial handling of the man now known to have the deadly Ebola virus by sending him home after he told a nurse he had recently traveled from West Africa. Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia showed up at the Dallas emergency room about 10 p.m. Sept. 25 with what hospital officials said was fever and abdominal pain. A nurse questioned him about travel, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol recommends, and Duncan acknowledged he had been in Liberia just seven days earlier, hospital officials said. But key members of the medical team were not alerted to his travel history. And instead of being placed in an isolation unit and tested for Ebola, as the guidelines issued two months ago suggest, he was given antibiotics and sent home, they said. Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallasnews.com is also reporting Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson said there are 80 to 100 "potential or possible contacts" being monitored, but only 12 to 18 people, including five Dallas ISD students and three paramedics, have come in direct contact with Duncan. Also, the state has ordered family members of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States to stay in their home and have no visitors. But no one has any symptoms.
And CBS News is reporting the three members of the ambulance crew that transported Duncan to a Dallas hospital have tested negative for the virus and are restricted to their homes as health officials monitor their conditions.
Ck out CDC's new 2-pg fact sheet called "What you need to know about Ebola" (PDF)
U.S. Ebola news 12-Oct-2014: Dallas Morning News is reporting that a health care worker who came in contact with the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S. has become infected with the virus, the Texas Department of State Health Services has said. Texas' health commissioner, David Lakey, said the health care worker had "extensive contact" with Thomas Eric Duncan. "We have spoken with the health care worker," who cannot "identify the specific breach" that allowed the infection to spread during the treatment of Duncan.
The infected health care worker detected a fever Friday night and apparently drove to the Presbyterian emergency department. Officials indicated that it took the patient 90 minutes after leaving the East Dallas apartment to be placed in isolation. A blood sample was sent to the state health lab in Austin, which gave a preliminary Ebola confirmation Saturday night. Health officials said the health care worker is believed to have had contact with only one person while symptomatic.
During a news conference Sunday morning, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressed that the spread of Ebola can be controlled. At the same time, though, Dr. Tom Frieden cautioned: "Unfortunately it is possible in the coming days we will see additional cases of Ebola" in health care workers. Exposure can result from a "single inadvertent slip," he said. Full article and updates at Dallasnews.com
According to The Washington Post, injecting the blood of a patient such as Brantly, who has recovered from Ebola and developed certain antibodies, is a decades-old but promising method of treatment that, academics and health officials agree, could be one of the best means to fight Ebola. Called a convalescent serum, it might also save Pham, an alum of Texas Christian University.
The first U.S. patient (Mr. Duncan) did not receive a transfusion because he did not match the donor's blood type.
Photo from BostonHerald.com
(Our thoughts & prayers go out to Nina & her family)
I neglected to post this on 15-Oct-2014: A second Texas nurse who contracted Ebola (who also treated Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan) flew on a commercial flight from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct 10 then returned to Texas with a slight temperature last Monday (Oct 13) before she was diagnosed.
Amber Vinson, 29, was isolated on Tuesday at Presbyterian Hospital then transferred to Atlanta's Emory University hospital Wednesday.
The CDC initially said there was little risk to the passengers and crew on Vinson's return flight to TX, however the Daily Mail reported on 18-Oct the CDC has since discovered that Miss Vinson may have had a worse case of Ebola during the two flights than was previously imagined. Frontier Airways says all passengers on both of the nurses' flights have been notified of the latest development and have been told to monitor themselves for signs of Ebola for the next 21 days.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Amber and her family and all those impacted by this on-going situation.
Added this to above list but sharing here too ... * new * CDC Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) To Be Used by Healthcare Workers During Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals, Including Procedures for Putting On (Donning) and Removing (Doffing) Updated 20-Oct-2014 and now available at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/procedures-for-ppe.html
Also listed above are some free handouts / posters from UNMC HEROES called Viral Hemorrhagic Fever - Donning & Doffing PPE http://app1.unmc.edu/nursing/heroes/ppe_posters_vhf.cfm
IAFF has some great Ebola resources and videos for first responders, including standard precautions and protocols for response and exposure, as well as guidance on what training and equipment every fire department needs to have to ensure a safe and effective response. http://www.iaff.org/ebola