Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever in humans, which is a severe and often fatal disease. Symptoms, including headache, high fever, unexplained bleeding, and vomiting, may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the virus; a person is only contagious when showing symptoms. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or someone who has died of the disease. This puts family members and health care workers treating an Ebola-infected patient at the highest risk for contracting the virus. This, along with poor health care systems, lack of protective equipment, and inefficient removal of Ebola-infected bodies, has contributed to the outbreak in western Africa that has caused almost 5,000 deaths to date.
Ebola in the US
As of October 15, 2014, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed two Ebola transmissions within the United States. Both are health care workers who contracted the virus while treating a patient who had become infected while in Liberia. This demonstrates just how serious of a threat Ebola is, even in US hospitals, and stresses how essential it is for hospitals to have infection control procedures in place.
The CDC advises healthcare workers use standard, contact, and droplet precautions when dealing with infected or possibly infected Ebola patients. Additionally, personal protective equipment, including goggles, facemasks, liquid-resistant gowns, and skin protection, should be worn at all times. Safe handling procedures should be implemented when handling or disposing of needles or other possibly contaminated objects. Frequent disinfecting of surfaces, fixtures, and high-touch objects with an EPA-registered disinfectant with claims against non-enveloped viruses is recommended to prevent environmental exposure. Non-enveloped viruses include norovirus, adenovirus, rotovirus, and poliovirus.
For more information about the signs, symptoms, and transmission of Ebola, visit the CDC website
Check out the Multi-Clean Infection Control Webpage for information about these disinfectants, sanitation procedures, and specific pathogen claims.