December 5, 2014
December 5, 2014
Ebola is a very big topic in the United States, but the number one question is, how do we prevent it? Everyone is trying to make sure that the Ebola virus does not break out into the same epidemic that happened in Africa. The United States is trying to do everything they can to prevent an epidemic here. The epidemic of Ebola, that started in Africa and is slowly making its way into the United States, is a big enough issue that the CDC is helping healthcare facilities, airports and people themselves prevent the spreading and transmission of the virus.
The Ebola virus, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a disease that is caused by one of the many Ebola viruses; this is a rare but very deadly disease. Animals and humans can receive this deadly disease. Symptoms of this disease can be very similar to those of when you have the flu; fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting. This disease can cause high blood pressure, internal bleeding, low oxygen levels and dehydration. In order to diagnose this rare disease, blood tests and lab work are done. When diagnosed there is an incubation period of anywhere between 2-21 days. Although there is no known treatment for the disease just trial and error, doctors and scientists are working very hard to come up with a permanent cure. The average fatality rate for this disease, according to the World Health Organization, is approximately 50%.
Transmission of Ebola is mainly through bodily fluids or skin contact with any virus-laden materials from the infected patient. In Africa many people became infected with moving the carcasses of dead infected monkeys. If needles are not disposed of properly after injecting an infected patient there is a risk of the disease getting transmitted. Air borne transmission has not been noted with any of the transmission cases. Even though this has not been noted it has not been ruled out as a method of transmission.
Ebola was first discovered, 1976, in Africa with two simultaneous outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Both outbreaks had a fatality rate above 50%, 88% and 53% respectively. Since the first outbreak the disease has spread to most of South Africa. In most of the cases of Ebola it was transmitted through the handling of infected dead animal carcasses. According to the CDC there have been 17,256 cases of Ebola just in Africa alone, 6,113 of those cases resulted in death.
The first case of Ebola made its way into the United States with a man who had traveled from Liberia into Texas, on September 30th of 2014. Since the first case there have been another 3 reported. The dates to where the Ebola virus spread are not very far apart; from September 30th to the 10th of October and another case on October 15th. After these cases of Ebola were diagnosed the CDC made sure to let everyone know they were doing anything they could to prevent it from spreading any farther. "CDC recognizes that any case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States raises concerns, and any death is too many. Medical and public health professionals across the country have been preparing to respond to the possibility of additional cases. CDC and public health officials in Texas, Ohio, and New York are taking precautions to identify people who had close personal contact with the patients, and healthcare professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times." (CDC, Cases of Ebola Diagnosed in the United States, cdc.gov) According to the CDC there has been 4 cases of Ebola reported in the United States and only one of those cases resulted in death.
A big question that has aroused from many concerned U.S citizens is, what is being done to prevent Ebola from spreading? After the first case of Ebola hit the United States a lot of planning came about to help prevent spreading. Along with other organizations is doing everything they can to prevent Ebola from spreading. "CDC, along with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and international partners, is taking active steps to respond to the rapidly changing situation in West Africa. Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States. CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola within the United States in addition to its activities abroad." (CDC, What CDC is Doing, cdc.gov) The CDC made sure that all healthcare facilities were prepared and were up to date on all prevention protocols. There was screenings made at the airports for potential transmission. Although these screenings have been reported to be a waste of time, the CDC and other organizations are working to increase the outcome of them being used.
The center for disease control and prevention, CDC is doing everything they can to help the United States prevent the spreading of the disease. The CDC is the United States biggest defense when it comes to infections and disease prevention. This organization is who came up with all of the protocols that are placed in any healthcare facility for not only Ebola prevention but also for the spreading of other diseases and infections that go in and out of the healthcare facilities. The CDC's hope is that all the precautions and screenings that are put in place will prevent transmission and spreading of the disease.
Healthcare facilities are doing everything that they can to make sure that they can prevent the disease from spreading. All healthcare facilities have been prepped by the CDC to help them prepare for if they are to receive a case of the disease. All facilities are prepped with a health organization that is on call to come place people in the correct protective equipment the proper way. Each facility also has a screening protocol that they are to follow in case there is a possible infection of Ebola. "Health workers in West Africa have taken full precautions, wearing protective suits that cover their entire bodies, as well as hosing down areas infected patients have used." (Hannah Flint, Ebola prevention: How to protect yourself from Ebola, telegraph.co.uk)
When traveling there are many precautions being taken to screen people who are coming back from places were the Ebola virus might have been. Airports around the country have come up with protocols for trying to prevent the spreading of the disease from Africa into the United States. The CDC has also come up with screenings for the airports to put in place. ""We work to continuously increase the safety of Americans," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa."" (e.g. CDC, Enhanced Ebola Screening to Start at Five U.S. Airports and New Tracking Program for all People Entering U.S. from Ebola-affected Countries, cdc.gov)
Self-prevention is a major component in preventing the disease from spreading or getting infected. The first part of infection control is protecting yourself. Washing your hands has always been the number one thing we were told to prevent us from being sick. Being aware of your surroundings is also a key component in keeping yourself safe from getting a disease. "CDC has issued a Warning, Level 3 travel notice for U.S. citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. An Alert, Level 2 travel notice has also been issued for travelers to Mali, where a cluster of cases has been reported. CDC advises travelers to Mali to practice enhanced precautions and protect themselves by avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are sick because of the possibility they may be sick with Ebola. An Alert, Level 2 travel notice is also in effect for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a small number of Ebola cases have been reported that are not related to the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa." (CDC, Questions and Answers on Ebola, cdc.gov)
If all of the precautions that are being put in place were to be followed there is a very good chance that we could put the Ebola virus to a stand still. Although we could not get back the lives that were lost, we can prevent this from happening to anyone else. The epidemic of Ebola, that started in Africa and is slowly making its way into the United States, is a big enough issue that the CDC is helping healthcare facilities, airports and people themselves prevent the spreading and transmission of the virus. The prevention of Ebola is underway and the CDC as well as other organizations are making sure of that. Ebola is a very big issue and concern within the United States, between the efforts of everyone involved in trying to stop the spreading of the virus the hope is to keep it under control. Even though we will never get the Ebola virus count to zero, we can diminish the numbers tremendously by taking as many precautions as we possibly can.