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Dr. Elting Discusses Ebola Virus on News Channel 8

Dr. Elting appeared on News Channel 8 this past Wednesday, October 22nd, with Bruce Depuyt to discuss Ebola virus. Depuyt asked Dr. Elting, an infectious disease specialist, for insight into the virus; particularly focusing on ways the virus can be contracted, and how we may be at an increased risk when using air travel. Postcard Picture

From the broadcast:

Up first – Answering your questions about Ebola.  The news of late has been good.  The people who came into contact with those who cared for patient Thomas Duncan are said to be symptom-free.  And the potential cases of Ebola that we’ve seen on the news, those have turned out to be false alarms.  Nonetheless, we know there is anxiety about the Ebola virus – how it is spread, how it is treated, and whether it’s likely we’ll see more cases in the days, weeks, months ahead.

Joining us now is Dr. Jeffrey Elting.  He’s former head of infectious disease control and response for the DC Hospital Association.  He is now the Medical Director at the Presidential Healthcare Center in the National Capitol region. 

“The public health sector has stepped up its game” Dr. Elting said.  “It is important to keep everything in perspective by taking into account that someone dies every 34 seconds of a heart attack.  We have 30,000 people killed in EBOLAmotor vehicle accidents each year, and we have influenza that kills millions of people.  Comparatively, we’ve had 1 person unexpectedly come to the US with Ebola who unfortunately died from the virus, but aside from some initial missteps, the rest of the cases have been managed quite well and people are recovering.” “Ebola is a special case and more deadly than others,” he said.  “That’s why we have decontamination units, isolation rooms, stockpiles of medication, protective suits and face masks.”

Dr. Elting also spoke about how the Ebola virus is transmitted.  “The transmission
method for Ebola is generally from contaminated fluid from infected patients.  It’s not transmitted by respiratory droplets like the flu or a cold.”

He also addressed the symptoms experienced after contracting Ebola.  “The initial symptoms are going to be somewhat flu-like.  You’re going to have a fever, headache, muscle aches, irritation of the throat, and then it will progress.  Ebola is a hemorrhagic virus, therefore, it can cause bleeding into the eyes, lungs and intestinal system.  Distinguishing patients with Ebola may become more challenging as the flu season approaches.”

View the entire interview here.

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Ebola: WHO Cites Cases With Longer Incubation Period of 42 Days

Ebola OctoberAs questions of how many people the second Dallas nurse infected during her journey to and from Dallas throw scary possibilities, a WHO situation assessment report gives more cause for concern by stating that the incubation period of the virus has been seen to extend to as long as 42 days in some cases.

It says that recent studies conducted in West Africa have demonstrated that 95% of confirmed cases have an incubation period in the range of 1 to 21 days; 98% have an incubation period that falls within the 1 to 42-day interval.

For WHO to declare an Ebola outbreak over, a country must pass through 42 days, with active surveillance supported by good diagnostic capacity and no new cases detected in the period.

The organization has also criticized rapid determination of infection within a few hours, noting that two separate tests 48 hours apart are required before discharging a patient or a suspected one as Ebola negative.

In assessing the situation in West Africa, WHO says fresh cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone show that the outbreak is not showing any sign of being controlled.

On the positive side, it is all set to declare later this week that Senegal is Ebola-free, if no new cases are detected.Ebola October 2

Nigeria will also get the green signal once it passes the requisite 42 days, with active surveillance and no new cases till Monday, 20 October.

Tracing of people known to have contact with an Ebola patient reached 100% in Lagos and 98% in Port Harcourt, a crucial step in controlling the spread of the virus.

In the case of the American nurse who took a commercial flight with 132 other passengers, the risk factor is multiplied with every contact she made, beginning with the immediate co-passengers, flight attendants and airline baggage handlers to the family members she met.

The Ebola virus is believed to be able to survive outside the body for a week or more during which time anyone who comes in contact with contaminated surface can pick up the virus.

The death rate in the current Ebola outbreak has increased to 70% with the toll at 4,447. There could be up to 10,000 new cases of Ebola per week in two months, WHO has warned.

Source: International Business Times