What is Ebola?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a severe, often fatal viral disease in humans. Ebola HF is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. When an infection occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. The first Ebolavirus species was discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically.
The natural reservoir host of ebolaviruses remains unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne) with bats being the most likely reservoir. The virus occurs in animal hosts native to Africa.
How is Ebola Spread?
The virus is spread through direct contact with blood or secretions of an infected person. It will also be transmitted by direct exposure through objects that have been contaminated by infected body fluids.
The viruses that cause Ebola HF are often spread through families and friends because they come in direct contact with infectious body fluids when caring for ill persons.
Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. 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 become infected with and spread Ebola virus.
The disease can spread quickly within health care settings when staff are not wearing appropriate protective equipment such as mask, gowns and gloves.
Proper cleaning and disposal of instruments, such as needles and syringes, is also important. If instruments are not disposable, they must be sterilized before being used again. Without adequate sterilization of the instruments, virus transmission can continue and amplify an outbreak.
What guidance does the CDC give on preventing the spread of the Ebola?
Specific information can be found here:
If a patient in a U.S. hospital is suspected or known to have Ebola virus disease, healthcare teams should follow standard, contact, and droplet precautions, including the following recommendations:
Isolate the patient: Patients should be isolated in a single patient room (containing a private bathroom) with the door closed.
Wear appropriate PPE: Healthcare providers entering the patients room should wear: gloves, gown (fluid resistant or impermeable), eye protection (goggles or face shield), and a facemask. Additional protective equipment might be required in certain situations (e.g., copious amounts of blood, other body fluids, vomit, or feces present in the environment), including but not limited to double gloving, disposable shoe covers, and leg coverings.
Restrict visitors: Avoid entry of visitors into the patient's room. Exceptions may be considered on a case by case basis for those who are essential for the patient's wellbeing. A logbook should be kept to document all persons entering the patient's room. See CDC's infection control guidance on procedures for monitoring, managing, and training of visitors.
Avoid aerosol-generating procedures: Avoid aerosol-generating procedures. If performing these procedures, PPE should include respiratory protection (N95 or higher filtering facepiece respirator) and the procedure should be performed in an airborne infection isolation room.
Implement environmental infection control measures: Diligent environmental cleaning and disinfection and safe handling of potentially contaminated materials is of paramount importance, as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine and other body secretions represent potentially infectious materials should be done following hospital protocols. Interim Guidance for Environmental Infection Control in Hospitals for Ebola Virus can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/environmental-infection-control-in-hospitals.html
Which Spartan disinfectants kill the Ebola virus?
The CDC states that although there are no products with specific label claims against the Ebola virus, enveloped viruses such as Ebola are susceptible to a broad range of hospital disinfectants used to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces. In contrast, non-enveloped viruses are more resistant to disinfectants. As a precaution, selection of a disinfectant product with a higher potency than what is normally required for an enveloped virus is being recommended at this time. EPA-registered hospital disinfectants with label claims against non-enveloped viruses (e.g., norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) are broadly antiviral and capable of inactivating both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses.
Spartan Hospital-grade Disinfectants
TB-Cide Quat (rotavirus, norovirus)
COG hdqC2 (rotavirus)
COG Super HDQ L10 (rotavirus)
GS Neutral Disinfectant (rotavirus)
GS High Dilution Disinfectant (rotavirus)