New Case of Ebola in New York City

A doctor who had been to West Africa working for Doctors without Borders has tested positive for Ebola. Although not yet confirmed by the CDC, initial testing does indicate the Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned from Guinia ten days ago, does have the Ebola virus. 

Spencer, who lives on 147th Street in West Harlem, was under self-quarantine for the 21-day incubation period when he began feeling feverish and having gastrointestinal problems. New York Governor Mario Cuomo said that there are at least four people who have come into contact with Spencer who need to be monitored for Ebola symptoms over the next few weeks including Spencers fiance, and three friends. 

Mayor Cuomo said that he feels New York is as ready as it could be under the circumstances for any new cases of Ebola. The day prior to Dr. Spencer developing symptoms he went on a jog and travled by subway. He also visited a bowling alley, which is currently closed pending health inspection clearance. 

 Dr. Spencer has been admitted to Bellvue Hospital in New York City with a fever of 103 degrees and is currently in isolation. No information is currently avaiable about the treatment method he will undergo to combat the virus.

The Ebola Quarantine Ends for 48 People

Has the Ebola crisis come to an end in the United States? The forty-eight family, friends, and others who were exposed to Liberian Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan are now out of quarantine, and none have shown signs of having contracted the virus. They have now been cleared to leave the apartment where they have been held under watch for the past few weeks, however, they continue to grieve for their lost loved one.      

Watch the video below for more information.


Are we Losing the Ebola Fight?

With no specific drug available to effectively treat Ebola, there is a cry for blood, or that is, the blood of those who have had the disease and developed an immunity. Kent Brantly, the American who contracted Ebola in West Africa and was returned to Atlanta for treatment, has given blood to three other Ebola victims, and each is recovering. On average, 50-70% of those infected with Ebola, die from the virus.

Some evidence suggests that some people may develop an immunity to Ebola without ever having been ill. A study was performed during a 1996 Gabon outbreak, where those who had contact with Ebola patients were monitored by researchers, and later found to have antibodies to the virus. Out of the 24 subjects monitored, 11 had antibodies. This suggests that immunization may be naturally occurring to people who are exposed to the virus.

ZMapp, the experiemental drug that was given to workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who contracted Ebola in West Africa, is another potential treatment for those infected with the virus. The United States is in the process of submitting plans to have the drug developed and produced. A task order was submitted on October 16 by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) inquiring about plans, budgets and timetables. Other labs throughout the United States and around the world are working on treatment measures or a possible vaccine for the virus.

As the World Bank in Geneva warns that the fight for Ebola is being lost, the UN pleaded for more money to combat the disease. Deaths from Ebola have now topped 4,500, with the vast Majority in West Africa.  Many countries are concerned about potential victims traveling and exposing others to the disease. In early October, a healthcare worker who helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, traveled by plane while infected with the Ebola virus. Another health care worker who had direct contact with clinical specimens of the Ebola victim boarded a cruise ship in October. Although she showed no symptoms of the disease, she was isolated in the Carnival Magic ship till it could be returned to Dallas, Texas.

Dozens of people around the United States are being monitored for symptoms of Ebola. Victims of the virus can take from 2 to 21 days to exhibit symptoms of the disease.

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Ebola Updates and News to Date

Nina Pham
What’s New with Ebola? Nina Pham has been transferred to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, and Amber Vinson is at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Texas Presbyterian Hospital released a video of Nina Pham inside her hospital room in Dallas. 

Her doctor, Gary Weinstein took the video just a few hours before Pham, 26, was transferred to NIH. Both Pham and Vinson are being treated with experimental drugs to combat the Ebola virus. As of last night, Pham was listed in fair condition, and Vinson stable condition.

Amber Vinson

Vinson,29, may have had symptoms earlier than at first thought, and the Centers for Disease Control is contacting people from the first flight, Frontier Airlines, 1142, along with people who were in the Ohio bridal shop, Coming Attractions: Bridal and Formal, where she and her bridesmaids were looking at gowns in preparation for her upcoming wedding. The owner of the bridal shop asked ABC News, “What are we supposed to do? The lady was here.” She said her employees are afraid to come to work.

Amber Vinson’s mother has said she was not sick when she first came home to Ohio, and that she was not feeling sick when she went to Dallas. According to Vinson’s family, she never contacted the CDC. They stated she, and other workers who were in contact with Duncan, were told to monitor their temperatures, but were not under any orders to contact the CDC. Her family said she would not have put them or other people at risk had she known she was sick.

One of the nurses who worked with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola in early October, and handled clinical specimens taken from the patient, is now isolated on a Carnival Cruise ship off the coast of Belize. Carnival wanted to drop the health care worker in Belize due to the potential for Ebola infection, however, Belize said they would not accept the passenger. The Mexican government also declined to allow the passenger to disembark in the country. 


State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said she thought the situation could have been handled differently and that, “Decisions like this need to be based on information and science, and not fear.” A Carnival spokesperson says she has not exhibited any symptoms to date. Harf said that there are ongoing talks between governments to determine how to handle these situations as they arise. The ship is on its way back to Galveston, Texas and expected to dock on Sunday, October 18.

Texas State Health has sent a message to anyone who was in contact with Duncan to stay away from public places and not board any trains, buses or planes till the incubation period of 21 days has passed. One method that is being used to treat Ebola is blood transfusion. Kent Brantly, the first man transferred back to the United States after having contracted Ebola while in West Africa, had received a blood transfusion from a West African boy who had overcome the disease in order to help combat the virus. 

Now Brantly has given his blood to help three of the victims including Nina Pham, Dr. Nick Sacra, a doctor who contracted the disease while treating patients in West Africa, and NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo. All happened to have type A blood. He offered blood to Thomas Eric Duncan, but their blood types did not match. 

Whistleblower, Brianna Aguirre, has recently come forward to talk about the lack of protocol in Texas Presbyterian Hospital where two of the nurses who treated Duncan later developed symptoms of the Ebola virus. She described the scene at the hospital when Duncan was admitted as “chaos,” and describes how nurses wore three pairs of gloves and booties each, and were covered from head to toe in protective garb, but that there was a gap of a couple of inches where the skin was uncovered in the neck area. She said she, “Threw a fit,” and could not believe that this was happening in the second week of the Ebola crisis. 

 Aguirre said that patients who were suspected of having Ebola were moved between rooms without protection and without disinfecting, and that Duncan was put in an area with at least seven other patient after he arrived via ambulance. Aguirre stated that the infectious disease department was contacted because the hospital had no idea what protocol to follow, and that “there were no special precautions, no special gear.” In addition, she said that they, “did not know what to do with lab specimen.” She went on to say that hospital staff did not have to receive any special training to deal with Ebola, but were told that they could attend an “optional seminar.” She went on to say that she does not think “any institution in the country is prepared for what to look for.” 

Texas Presbyterian Hospital chief Dr. Daniel Varga said that when Thomas Eric Duncan came into the hospital, they were unprepared to recognize the non-specific symptoms. He said that they were prepared to treat Ebola, but not to diagnose the disease. He said, “Mr. Duncans’ second visit came with a neon sign. We’re proud of how we managed that. We wish we had picked that up on the 26th.” When asked how two nurses wearing protective gear got Ebola, Dr. Varga said that Nina Pham was one of the first to have contact with the Liberian man in the emergency department prior to his confirmed diagnosis, and says that her protective equipment was in compliance with CDC recommendations “at the time.“ He said that once they had the serologic evidence of Ebola, hospital staff started wearing hazmet gear. 

U.S. Military Sent to West Africa
The United States government is scrambling to put measures into place to stop the spread of the Ebola virus. A new “Ebola czar,” Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore, will report to Lisa Monaco, the president’s homeland security adviser, and national security adviser Susan Rice on any updates. Klain’s official title is Ebola Response Coordinator. Klain has no previous medical experience or training, and the choice has met with some criticism. 

Many have openly stated they feel countries that have high rates of Ebola should be cut off, however, there is some evidence that may worsen the spread of the disease. U.S. soldiers, who were reportedly only given four hours of Ebola training, were recently dispatched to West Africa to help build hospitals and other infrastructure that will assist in containing the Ebola virus. One of the many things they will be doing on the ground is assisting with building facilities that will enable more people to get help both before and after they contract the virus. 

Some of the reasons the disease has spread so rapidly in West Africa is because the people of that country do not have access to adequate medical care. In addition, they have a ritual of washing the corpses of their loved ones prior to the funeral. People who have died from Ebola are especially contagious. Another possible reason for the continual rapid spread of the virus in that country is the residents’ suspicion that health care workers are out to harm them. The military is not expected to come into contact with any Ebola victims, but is in the country to build the infrastructure that will help health care workers and officials combat many of these issues. 

Ebola Cases Outside West Africa
The World Health Organization has estimated that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could reach the rate of 10,000 new infections per week over the next several months if it is not stopped. Currently, the infection rate is 1,000 per week. The Ebola virus is rapidly spreading throughout Africa. In addition, at least 17 cases of Ebola have been diagnosed outside West Africa. The death rate for this strain of Ebola has gone from 50% to 70%. There has been some success in Monrovia and Nigeria in combatting the Ebola virus, and much of this is due to advanced hospital care.


Airports screenings for Ebola have been put into place, and other measures are being taken at borders and ports of entry. The CDC is communicating with government agencies in an effort to educate their workers on how to screen travelers. President Obama has cancelled recent travel plans to deal with the crisis at home. Obama stated that his aides should monitor the spread of Ebola in the U.S. “in a more aggressive way,” but that Americans should be confident that the government can handle the crisis. He went on to say that other nations need to respond to the outbreak in West Africa as well. He said that if the world ignores this region of the world, the disease could spread globally. The CDC has said that they will send a rapid response team to any hospital in the United States where there is a suspected case of Ebola. 


Check out the CDC website for more information on the transmission, symptoms and care for Ebola. 

Ebola Patient Transferred to National Institutes of Health

Nina Pham, 26, the first health care worker known to be infected with Ebola in the United States, is being transferred to the Washington, D.C., National Institutes of Health for treatment. She will be the last Ebola patient with Ebola at Texas Presbyterian Hospital. There was some concern about the lack of qualified staff available to treat her at the Dallas Hospital. 

Pham and Amber Joy Vinson, 29, were both infected while working with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man first infected in West Africa. He showed up at the hospital in Dallas, and was initially told to go home. He returned three days later and was admitted for treatment, but spent some time in an open area of the hospital before being transferred to isolation. 

  Nina Pham's Tranfer to the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.

 Up to 77 health care workers were directly responsible for treating Duncan, and all are being monitored for signs of Ebola infection, but to date, only two have been infected from exposure to the Liberian man. Nina Pham’s received a blood transfusion from Dr. Richard Brantly, an American physician who was working in West Africa with Ebola patients who contracted the disease and recovered. Pham’s condition rapidly improved, but she continues to need supportive care she has stated, “I’m doing really well thanks to this team, which is the best in the world. I believe in my talented co-workers.” 

  Bently the Dog in Quarantine

Pham’s dog, Bently, was also isolated and is being monitored for symptoms of the Ebola virus. There is currently no more information on his condition.

How do we Stop Ebola? What is Contact Tracing?

How do we stop Ebola from spreading? Contact tracing is one way we are attempting to do that in the United States. Check out the video below to understand steps health officials are taking to stop the spread of Ebola.

Second Healthcare Worker with Ebola Flew on a Commercial Flight while Infected

Amber Joy Vinson, the second person to have contracted Ebola within the United States after working with Thomas Eric Duncan, has been moved to a hospital in Atlanta. We are just finding out that Vinson traveled on a commercial airline flight October 10 from Dallas to Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to returning to Dallas on October 14 via Frontier Airlines, she called the Centers for Disease Control before she got on the flight because she had a fever of 99 degrees. She was told that it was ok to fly because her fever was below the threshold of 100.4. The pilots and passengers of the plane are now being monitored for symptoms of the virus.

Director of the CDC, Tom Frieden stated that he thinks her risk of spreading the Ebola virus is very low because she was not bleeding or vomiting. Dr. Frieden does go on to say that individuals who have been exposed to Ebola should not be traveling on a commercial airline, and that other75  healthcare workers who worked with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States, will not be allowed to fly.

Vinson was visiting relatives in Ohio who are employed at Kent State University. The university has asked Vinson’s relatives to not come to campus and self-monitor for the 21 day incubation period.
Vinson will be receiving treatment at Emory Hospital in Atlanta where both Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the first patients to be flown to the United States from West Africa after having been infected with the virus, were treated.

Amber Joy Vinson is the second health care worker diagnosed after working with the infected Liberian man at the Texas Presbyterian Hospital. Nina Pham was diagnosed last weekend, and is listed in good condition after receiving a blood transfusion from previously infected patient Kent Brantly. Pham’s dog, Bently, is under quarantine, and no details have been released on his condition.

Frontier Airlines did fly again five times after Vinson’s flight on October 14 before being removed from service for cleaning, including flights from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Cleveland to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Atlanta to Cleveland. The CDC is recommending that customers who flew on flight 1142 Frontier Airlines  on October 10 or 1143 on October 13 should contact the CDC if they exhibit any symptoms of the virus.

Are Hospitals in the United States Prepared for Ebola?

The Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first known Ebola patient in the United States, is doing better. Nina Pham contracted Ebola while working at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in the intensive care unit. The hospital is under scrutiny as allegations of insufficient sanitation practices emerge in the wake of Pham’s diagnosis. One of the most blatant mistakes the hospital made was telling Thomas Eric Duncan to go home when he initially came to the hospital complaining of symptoms.

A nurse who took Duncan’s information noted that Duncan was from a “virus zone,” however, the hospital claimed a software error led to the Liberian man’s discharge. Duncan returned two days later, and ultimately died from the Ebola virus. By that time, dozens of other people had been exposed the deadly disease.

The Texas Presbyterian Hospital has been penalized by the federal government for seven categories of care in the emergency room including excessive wait times, and people having to return after having been discharged. Although they had lost some federal funding for three years, they had recently rebounded.


The World Health Organization reported that there could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases each week in Sierra Leone and Guinea Liberia by year’s end. The question for many Americans is, are hospitals in the United States prepared to deal with cases in the United States? Many front line health care workers say no.

The Centers for Disease Control says that most hospital rooms can work for isolation purposes, but that there has to be a set of procedures in place to ensure workers do not fall victim to the highly contagious virus. Training staff is crucial to avoid spreading the virus throughout the country. This would require practice, drills and constant hospital wide monitoring. Doctors and nurses are not the only ones who need to fear contracting the Ebola virus when working with infected patients. Hospital staff who deal with waste, or washing sheets and other materials may also fall victim to the illness. Contaminated blood can live on surfaces for an hour or more according to some experts.


Some non-union nurses are saying that there were no protocols in place while Thomas Eric Duncan was being treated. Specifically they said that nurses were allowed to leave the infected man's room without following any sanitation procedures. The Centers for Disease Control have said that they did not act quickly enough to ensure procedures were in place to stop the spread of Ebola from the initial patient.

If hospitals are to avoid spreading the Ebola virus, the federal government needs to step in and ensure they have adequate training in place for their employees, and that procedures are being strictly followed. The Ebola cases at Texas Presbyterian have proven that simple measures such as masks and protective gear are not enough to avoid contracting Ebola.

A Second Health Care Worker Tests Positive for Ebola

A second health care worker who helped care for Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola. The worker, who was being monitored since another worker, Nina Pham, was diagnosed earlier in the week, reported a fever on Tuesday. She was admitted Texas Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan, the Liberian man who brought Ebola to the United States, was diagnosed, and ultimately died. Nurse Nina Pham received a blood transfusion from recently recovered American Ebola survivor, Kent Brantly, who had been working in West Africa with Ebola victims. Pham is said to be “feeling better.”


Texas Presbyterian Hospital is under investigation for initially letting Thomas Eric Duncan go home, even after he told a nurse he had visited a known virus hotspot. They are also under scrutiny for not ensuring health care workers wore full protective gear when caring for Duncan as his symptoms worsened.

The most recently diagnosed nurse, whose name has not yet been released, is the second person who has contracted Ebola in the United States. She was immediately put into isolation and her contacts are now being monitored as well Seventy-six health care workers who cared for Duncan are being monitored for Ebola symptoms. The Texas Department of Health Services did the initial testing, although The Centers for Disease Control has yet to confirm the diagnosis, and more tests will be done today.

Stay tuned for updates.

Health Care Workers Followed Guidelines

Should we be Afraid? What to Do    

Euthanize Animals Exposed to the Ebola Virus?

Should Animals Exposed to the Ebola Virus be Immediately Euthanized?

A woman in Madrid, Spain was the first to be infected with the Ebola virus in the region. Maria Teresa Romero Ramos, who is 40 years old, was infected while acting as a caregiver for infected priests who had contracted the virus while working in West Africa.

Although Romero-Ramos wore protective clothing while treating the priests, and is only known to have entered the room where they were being treated a couple of times, she still someone contracted the Ebola virus.

She told reporters for El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, that she might have contracted the virus while removing her protective gear. No further details are known at this time about how she may have become infected. Sadly, her dog, Excalibur was also exposed to the Ebola virus.

Ebola can be transmitted to, and carried by, animals. Romero-Ramos reported "hanging out" with her dog for up to a week while she was stricken with fever. The twelve year old, yellow-haired mix did not exhibit any symptoms of the Ebola virus, and many expected he too would be put into isolation until the government had either been cleared or confirmed Ebola infection.
This did not happen. The government of Madrid made a decision to immediately euthanize the dog and then perform cremation, ostensibly to stop the spread of the virus. This despite over 325,000 signatures on a petition that asked to government of Madrid to place the dog in isolation until further testing could be done.

 Although dozens of protestors attempted to stop workers from removing the confused dog from the apartment where he had lived for twelve years, they ultimately took him, and put him to death. There is no evidence that animals can tranmit the Ebola virus to humans, although humans are known to transmit to animals.

Should Excalibur have been given a chance? We will never know if he would have been found to have had the virus. The tragedy is two-fold for Maria Teresa Romero Ramos. Not only has she contracted the Ebola virus while trying to help others; now she has lost her beloved pet, Excalibur.

Healthcare Worker in Dallas Contracts Ebola

The healthcare worker who tested positive for Ebola may not have followed protocol. Watch the following video from the Centers for Disease Control for more information.

Ebola Contracted in the United States

Dallas Health Care Worker Infected with Ebola

A health care worker in a Texas hospital has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus. If confirmed, this will be the first case of transmission to have occurred on United States soil. The health care worker was exposed while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who traveled to the United States while infected with the virus. He later died from the illness.

The newly infected health care worker, who has not been identified, reported having a fever on Friday night. She was then isolated and tested for Ebola infection. Test results on Saturday indicated Ebola may be the cause of her symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control CDC is performing testing today to confirm the diagnosis.


Doctors are working with the CDC to help stop the spread of the virus. There is no clear answer as to when the health care worker contracted the virus. Some speculate that the health care worker was exposed prior to Thomas Eric Duncan being put into isolation, however, further details are necessary to confirm this information.

Since confirmation of infection with Ebola takes up to 21 days, all contacts of the health care worker are being monitored. Ebola is known to be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, and is not thought to easily spread through the air.

 Check back later or subscribe to receive further updates.

Another Death from Enterovirus EV-D68

Enterovirus has claimed another life. A 21 month old girl in Michigan is the second person in the United States to die from Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). The little girl was being treated for the disease at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, located in Detroit, where she died Friday night. She is the first fatality in Michigan that can be attributed to EV-D68. Earlier in the week, 4 year old Eli Waller of New Jersey died in his sleep. His death was linked to the Enterovirus diet and complications from a strep infection. The little boy had been ill, but appeared to be doing better on the night that he died.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), non-polio enteroviruses are very common and can infect anyone. In most people, the virus will only cause mild cold symptoms, however, those with weaker immune systems, and those who are very old or very young, may develop more serious complications. CDC reports that four people have died from EV-D68 infection this year.

From the middle of August to today, the CDC has identified 691 people in 46 states with illness that can be associated with EV-D68 infection. According to the CDC, each of these states have at least one infection:

Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

 Enterovirus starts off like a common cold with symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and cough. More severe symptoms include difficulty breathing and rash. It is difficult to distinguish between a basic cold and the Enterovirus. Treatment for Enterovirus includes rest, fluids and over the counter cold medications. Any patients who develop breathing difficulties should immediately visit an emergency room to verify infection and receive more supportive care. .

EV-D68 is likely to hang around for the 2014 flu season, as the Enterovirus spreads throughout the United States. There have been clusters of infections in some states as well, and more are expected as the fall flu season goes into full swing.

Ebola Updates

The Flu I.Q. widget is an interactive quiz to test your flu knowledge.

UPDATE: Dallas Sheriff does not have Ebola!

There is a plan to stop the spread of Ebola. Today officials are planning to stop Ebola with a new layer of protection by using low touch thermometers on up to 150 passengers. Screening will begin at Washington Dulles, Atlanta, and O’Hare in Chicago and JFK in Newark New Jersey.

The most recent possible case of Ebola is the Dallas County Sheriff’s deputy who visited the home of Thomas Eric Duncan. He and two other officers, Zachary Thompson and Christopher Perkins, went unprotected to the scene. Sgt. Michael Monnig visited an urgent care office in Frisco, Texas complaining of stomach pain a week after the visit to Duncan’s home.  To date, no others who were in contact with Duncan have shown any sign of infection, and the police officer who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms has not been confirmed to have the disease.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the patient who was being treated for Ebola in a Texas hospital, died yesterday at while in isolation. Duncan had been given an experimental drug to treat the disease, however, he succumbed at 7:51a.m. Wednesday morning.Some question whether Duncan would still be alive had he been screened at the hospital for the Ebola virus. 

The Centers for Disease Control has specific guidelines that the hospital who cared for Duncan has to follow to avoid spreading the disease. Duncan’s body was wrapped in two zippered, leak-proof plastic bags, and will be cremated to help avoid spreading the Ebola virus. Anyone who had contact with Duncan’s body must also wear protective gear, including gloves, eye protection, cap, gown, shoe covers and a face mask to ensure their safety.

Ebola Virus Propaganda

Is some of the Ebola news you hear propaganda? This video gives a clear and inciteful synopsis of what the ebolavirus is, where it came from, and what you can expect. 

There is a lot of information out there about ebolavirus, and it can get pretty scary. News agencies are reporting information on a daily basis about those who have traveled from Africa and are suffering from flu-like symptoms. Contracting Ebola is a very scary proposition for anyone, however, some of the information out there might not be accurate, so it is a good idea to listen to opinions and facts from multiple sources. 

The main thing to remember in any situation that involves the possible transmission of a serious illness is to stay calm, but takes steps to avoid contracting the illness. Follow general precautionary flu measures such as hand-washing, keeping hands away from your face and avoiding crowds whenever possible. In addition, stay abreast news reports, especially those from the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, and the World Health Organization, WHO. This will help you protect you and your family from the Ebola virus and other flu that may be out there this season. 

Check it Out!

This video offers a synopsis of ebolavirus and symptoms. 

Child in Florida with Ebola?

UPDATE!! Teen tested negative for Ebola!

Channel 7, WSVN News, and CBS Miami News, both based in South Florida, are reporting that a West African boy has been hospitalized for a possible case of the Ebola virus. The boy, who may have been visiting South Florida and is said to be “under 18,” traveled from West Africa to the South Florida area, and came down with symptoms resembling the flu Sunday morning. He was admitted to Mount Sinai Health Center in Miami at about 3 am on Monday morning, and was transferred to Holtz Children’s Hospital, near Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, about twelve hours later.

Officials think that it is unlikely that the boy has the Ebola virus, Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine requested that the boy be tested as a precaution. Jackson Memorial Hospital has recently been in the news speaking about how they have prepared for cases of Ebola should they arrive in the South, Florida area. The hospital also had a patient suspected of having the Ebola virus in September, however, that individual ultimately tested negative for the virus.

 Regardless of whether the boy tests positive for Ebola, the scare has been enough for officials to activate the Joint Information Center in order to ensure effective communication throughout the state. The Joint Information Center helps connect agencies via Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) should an emergency event occur in the Florida area. Originally established for terrorist situations, the JIC can help agencies organize in emergency situations.

 Symptoms of Ebola include:

  • Fever higher than 101.5% Fahrenheit 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Muscle pain and weakness 
  • Diarrhea and vomiting 
  • Severe headache
  • Hemorrhage or bleeding 

  • Some of these symptoms happen in later stages of the disease. Incubation time is two to twenty-one days after exposure, but officials are reporting average time from exposure to symptoms is eight to ten days. The World Health Organization reports the death rate from the Zaire strain of Ebola is approximately 50%.

    Can Enterovirus Kill You?

    Enterovirus Affects the Very Young the Worst

    Protect Against Enterovirus

    Enterovirus D68 is the newest deadly strain of flu to make its way into the news stories of the day. First identified in 1962 in California according to the Centers for Disease Control, the deadly enterovirus is a virus with over 100 known strains that can cause infection ranging from the simple common cold, to meningitis. 

    Because the virus lives in the GI tract, they are also responsible for gastrointestinal illness. It may also cause some neurological problems, muscle weakness and paralysis, but these 
    symptoms are uncommon. There are versions of the enterovirus that imitate the effects of polio, however, the recent strain circulating the country is a non-polio strain.

    The most recent strain of enterovirus has the most devastating effect on the very young, and those with weakened immune systems. Children with asthma in particular can experience the most dire symptoms, and in the worst case scenario, enterovirus can be fatal.

    If your child exhibits symptoms such as cough, sneezing, fever, body aches, difficulty breathing or wheezing, contact a health care provider immediately to rule out the possibility of enterovirus. Because it affects young children, who have no real immunity to disease, getting to a doctor early is essential to effective treatment.

    To date, there have been approximately 500 cases of enterovirus scattered over most of the United States. Because many cases go unreported, that number may be significantly higher than reports indicate. The virus is spread through respiratory secretions that include saliva, spit and nasal discharge. Summer and Fall are the most likely time a person would contract the enterovirus.

    The CDC recommends using these tips to keep you and your family healthy and free of the enterovirus.
    • Use soap when you wash your hands. Wash often and for 20 seconds or more.
    • Don’t touch your face
    • Avoid close contact with those who are already sick.
    • Cover mouths when coughing or sneezing. Cough into a sleeve, or shoulder, not your hand. Your hands spread germs.
    • Keep surfaces clean. Bleach kills most viruses.
    • Do not go to school or work when sick.

    There are currently no antiviral medications or cure for enterovirus, however, you can protect yourself from contracting and spreading it by following basic preventative measures. If you or someone you know does contract enterovirus, watch carefully for signs that may indicate the virus is at a serious stage. A person who is wheezing or having difficulty breathing should get to a doctor or hospital immediately. Enterovirus at this stage can be fatal.

    Update caregivers about what procedures they should follow if they suspect your child has an infection, in particular if your child has asthma or other breathing problems. Children with asthma should be monitored especially carefully if enterovirus is suspected. Have an action plan with your care provider, and medications on hand should illness occur.

    Washington Hospitals Admit Ebola Patients?

    Two Washington, D.C.  area hospitals may have patients who are exhibiting symptoms of Ebola. Howard University Hospital in the District of Columbia had a patient come in on Friday night that had symptoms associated with the virus. In addition, the individual had recently traveled to Nigeria.

    In addition, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland hospital just north of Washington also had a patient with flu-like symptoms, and a travel history that caused hospital officials to take extra precautions against the Ebola virus. Hospital officials at Shady Grove later ruled out Ebola as the source of infection, however, the Centers for Disease Control is still monitoring the patient in the D.C. area hospital.

    Reports are filtering in that the Ebola outbreak may be dissipating outbreak areas such as Nigeria and Sierra Leone, but officials and health care facilities are still on guard for isolated cases of the deadly virus.

    Ebola has killed over 3,000 people to date in West Africa. In the United States, dozens of people are still being monitored after being exposed to a man who traveled back to the U.S. from Liberia. Thomas Eric Duncan is now in critical condition in a Dallas area hospital, and approximately 115 people he came into contact with, including health care workers and family members, are under quarantine. Those infected with Ebola can take from two to twenty-one days to become symptomatic.

    More recently, a 35 year old man began vomiting on a United Airlines flight from Brussels to Newark Liberty International Airport. He was rushed to the hospital in Newark, while the CDC investigated. Passengers waited for 90 minutes to be cleared to leave. It turned out the man was suffering from a treatable illness unrelated to Ebola.

    Airport officials, in cooperation with the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and other governmental agencies have developed a more rigorous questionnaire for individuals traveling from areas of known Ebola outbreaks. In addition, quarantine areas have been set up in airports as another line of defense to assist in preventing people presenting symptoms of the virus from entering the United States. 

    Ebola: An Unimaginable Tragedy

    The Observer posted an article today in which it asked a series of questions of the researcher who was involved in the original discovery of the Ebola virus. Through a series of interview questions, they ascertain what Peter Piot thinks about the recent Ebola outbreak, and help give some insight into how it got out, and what we might expect.

    It was 1976 when Peter Piot, the doctor who named Ebola, had his first experience with the Ebola virus. The one-time Belgian researcher, who is now the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, first came into contact with the Ebola virus in a Belgian lab when a pilot brought him a blood sample that had been taken from a Belgian nun, who later died. While in Kinshasa, which is now Zaire, the nun had been beset by a mystery illness. A doctor in Kinshasa, thinking it was a possible case of yellow fever, sent the blood sample via pilot, encased in a frozen blue thermos, to Piot for testing.

    Back in those days, security levels were minimal, and doctors only wore white lab coats and protective gloves. At one point, they even dropped a vial on the floor, where it shattered on an assistants shoe, however, none of the researchers contracted the virus.

    Tests came out negative for yellow fever, typhoid and Lassa, so doctors decided to inject the virus into mice and other animals in the lab to see what would happen. Initially, there was no response, but after a few days, the animals began to die one by one.

    Because it was similar to the Marburg virus, which can also cause hemorrhagic fever, researchers initially thought it may be a strain; however, testing indicated it was an unknown, but possibly related virus. Doctors decided to name Ebola after the Ebola River sort of randomly. The figured since the river was closest to the area where the infection had broken out, the name would fit well.

    It turned out that nuns had actually spread the Ebola virus by using unsterilized needled when injecting pregnant women with vitamins. Piot thinks that clinics often fail to observe basic hygiene, and may inadvertently spread viruses and other diseases. He thinks the recent outbreak may have gotten out of control because of recent civil wars that led to doctors leaving and healthcare system collapse. The article in the Guardian states that there were only 51 doctors in Liberia in 2010, and that some of those have died after contracting the Ebola virus. Other things that might have spread the virus are corpses being moved across towns and villages. Corpses are especially virulent.

    Doctor Piot warns that if Ebola spreads to highly populated cities, the world could be looking at “unimaginable catastrophe.” He feels that countries such as Germany, which is close to Belgium, must step up to help avert what he calls a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

    When asked if he felt we are facing a new pandemic, Piot states that, “An outbreak in Europe or North America would quickly be brought under control.” He does go on to say that because the virus is continually changing at the genetic level that it might spread more easily, possibly leading to an “apocalyptic scenario.” If the virus mutates to live longer, it could eventually mutate to spread more efficiently through the air.

    Doctor Piot feels that it might be beneficial to take blood serum from Ebola survivors to treat new infections. Antibodies survivors develop may help others combat the virus. Experimental drugs may help, but he warns against too heavy a reliance on these medications, stating, “For most people, they will come too late in this epidemic.”

    Overall, Piot feels optimistic about the possibility of proclaiming victory over the Ebola virus. He compares Ebola to AIDS and says it can be depressing, but can also motivate. He wants to do something, and he is asking others to step up as well. He urges the powers of the world to step in and help, before it is too late. 

    Reference: The Guardian

    Is Ebola Airborne?

    NBC News Journalist Infected with Ebola 

    CBS News anchor Gayle King asked a scientist on the CBS This Morning show today how cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who was working in Liberia as a freelancer for NBC, could have contracted the Ebola virus. King stated that the cameraman was covered well and that he had no contact with Ebola victims.

    The scientist interviewed on the show stated that they did not know how the cameraman had contracted the virus, but that the virus can be spread through large droplets. He went on to state that Ebola had changed on a molecular level over the past year, and that scientists are not sure how it is spread. This statement contradicts earlier ones that Ebola is not spread through the air, but only through direct contact.

    Canadian scientists showed that Ebola can be transmitted through the air. They demonstrated how the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys, without any direct contact between these animals. You can read the detailed report here.

     Check out the video below and stay tuned for more updates!

     How Easily is Ebola Spread?


    Ebola Hits the U.S.

    We now know that the first case of the Ebola virus has officially hit the United States. A man, Thomas Eric Duncan, was traveling from Liberia, a country in West Africa bordered by Sierra Leone, and arrived in the United States on September 19, 2014. 

    Duncan is a 42 year old Liberian citizen who was traveling to the U.S. to see relatives. He was working with a pregnant woman who was infected with Ebola while in Liberia prior to leaving West Africa, and was known to have direct contact with her. The New York Times reported sources relayed that Duncan carried the woman to a Liberian hospital, which was unable to care for her, and she later died. 

    Duncan is the first man in the United States known to have carried Ebola from Africa. He flew for 28 hours on a Brussels Airlines jet that originated in Monrovia Liberia. He was screened for Ebola, but showed no signs of the disease. He first arrived at the Belgian capital, where he had a seven hour layover, and then got on United Flight 951 going to Dulles International Airport in Virginia. After a three hour layover, a third plane, flight 822, flew Duncan to Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas. 

    Six days passed before Duncan sought medical treatment at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He was complaining of abdominal pain and had a low-grade fever. The Ebola sufferer was given basic blood tests, but because he was not exhibiting symptoms specific to Ebola, he was not tested for the disease. He told a nurse that he had traveled from Africa, but was not given any special treatment. Information about his travels may not have been communicated effectively to the medical team that was overseeing his care. 

    Duncan was initially sent home with antibiotics, but he returned to the hospital  three days later when his symptoms did not subside. Upon his return, he was admitted to the hospital and put into isolation. Eighteen people, including five children, came into contact with Duncan in his Texas apartment complex. The five children who came into contact with Duncan attend four separate schools. These individuals, along with hospital staff and patients, are being monitored for symptoms of the Ebola virus.  

    It is unknown how many people Duncan had contact with during his travels from Africa. He had multiple layovers in large airports, contact with family and friends, hospital staff, and others at the height of his illness. 

    The curent outbreak of Ebola involves the Zaire ebolavirus or ZEBOV. It is not always apparent upon initial infection, and, in early stages, Ebola can resemble a respiratory infection such as the cold, or a mild flu. Ebola can incubate in the body six days to three weeks before becoming apparent, so there is some possibility the infection has already spread. Ebola works by suppressing immune system function, so individuals with already weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of infection and serious complications, however, it is known to infect otherwise healthy individuals as well.

    Some of the symptoms of Ebola include: 

    • Non-specific flu-like symptoms
    • Sudden onset of stomach pain, diarreah, vomiting, fever and muscle pain
    • Bleeding from an orifice or rash
    According to Dr. Mercola, when infection takes hold, more serious symptoms such as brain swelling, coagulation or problems with blood clotting, and secondary bacterial infections may occur. A patient may begin to hemmorage four or five days after infection, and bleed from the throat, lips, lungs, and/or vagina. Death may occur when these symptoms are followed by bleeding from vomiting blood and multi-organ failure. 

    Although Ebola was initially not thought to be airborne, at least one study has shown that pigs and monkeys kept in separate cages, and with no direct contact, did pass the virus. Ebola is thought to be transmitted through direct contact, but also in large droplets that can be suspended in the air for short periods. 

    Live Link suggests that people be prepared for an outbreak in their country by obtaining passports and having a plan for evacuation if necessary. Know where you will go, and what you will take with you if you need to leave quickly. In addition, it might be useful to obtain medical facemasks in case of an outbreak to protect you and your family from Ebola infection. 

    Officials are telling people in the U.S. not to panic, however, preparedness is important for avoiding any potential disease outbreak. Take all of the normal precautions including avoiding large crowds, keeping your hands away from your face, and washing hands frequently. In addition, avoid contact with people who have obvious signs of illness. If you develop signs of Ebola, call a hospital to find out their procedures for admission. 

    You can get more information from the Centers for Disease Control on the Ebola virus.