Monday, August 25, 2014

Airborne transmission of Ebola - updated


By Ronald R. Cherry

The American public has been misinformed regarding human-to-human transmission of Ebola. Assurances that Ebola can be transmitted only through direct contact with the body or body fluids of victims needs to be seriously scrutinized in the wake of the current West African outbreak. The Canadian Health Dept. states that airborne transmission of Ebola is strongly suspected and the CDC admits that Ebola can be transmitted in situations where there is no physical contact between people, i.e.: via direct airborne inhalation into the lungs or into the eyes, or via contact with airbornefomites which adhere to nearby surfaces, where individuals are separated by 3 feet. That helps explain why 81 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have died in West Africa to date. These courageous health care providers use careful CDC level barrier precautions such as gowns, gloves and head cover, but it appears they have inadequate respiratory and eye protection. Dr. Michael V. Callahan, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital who has worked in Africa during Ebola outbreaks said that minimum CDC level precautions

"led to the infection of my nurses and physician co-workers who came in contact with body fluids."

Currently the CDC advises health care workers to use goggles and simple face masks for respiratory and eye protection, and a fitted N-95 mask during aerosol-generating medical procedures. Since so many doctors and nurses are dying in West Africa, it is clear that this level of protection is inadequate.Full face respirators with P-100 (HEPA) replacement filters would provide greater airway and eye protection, and I believe this would save the lives of many doctors, nurses and others who come into close contact with, or in proximity to, Ebola victims.

The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases conducted a monkey to monkey Ebola study in December 1995, published in The Lancet, Vol 346. Here is a link to the abstract, but the entire article must be purchased. Several rhesus monkeys were infected with Zaire Ebola by intramuscular injection while three control rhesus monkeys were kept in cages separated 10 feet from the infected monkeys. All of the injected monkeys died of Ebola by day 13 and 2 out of 3 control monkeys died of Ebola by 8 days after that. The authors of this study concluded that:

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