GBU Mountain News LXXVI October 15, 2014.pdf
GBU Mountain News
October 15, 2014 - LXXVI
and about 50% of the people infected with the virus will
die. Of those 16 individuals infected with the Ebola four
have died (US:1, Spain:2, Germany:1); six are still
receiving medical care (US:3, Spain:1, Germany:1,
Norway:1), and six have recovered (US:3, France:1,
Great Britain:1, Germany:1)
What is a Virus
A virus is an extremely small "thing". It is between one
billionth (10 -9 = Nanometer) and ten billionth of a meter
(10 -10 Angstrom) small. In comparison, if a virus would
be the size of a human body, than a human would be
about one million kilometers tall.
A virus contains a package of chemicals, called nucleic
acid surrounded by a protein coat, called a capsid. It is
not really a living organism because a virus cannot grow
or reproduce on its own. A virus attacks cells in humans,
animals, or plants and changes the activity of that cell.
The cell then starts making copies of that virus. These
new produced viruses break out of the cell and attack
With that the virus causes a variety of diseases in
humans, animals, and plants. Human diseases caused by
viruses include influenza, smallpox, HIV (=the virus)/
AIDS (the disease), and Ebola.
Each virus is different, looks different, attacks different
cells, and causes different diseases. Virus can stay in a
human (or animal) hidden for a long time without
producing any signs of disease.
Once a virus-caused disease breaks out, there is usually
no way to cure it. The only way to prevent a virus
infection in the first place is through vaccination (i.e.,
For certain viruses, including Ebola, a vaccination does
not even exist.
Outbreak in the U.S.
On Friday night, October 10, 2014 a nurse at Texas
Presbyterian Hospital reported a fever as part of a selfmonitoring regimen required by the CDC. On Sunday,
October 12, 2014 the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) and Texas Department of State Health
Services confirmed that the nurse, Nina Pham, had
indeed tested positive for Ebola.
She had provided care for the Dallas Ebola index patient
Thomas Eric Duncan. Subsequently, Pham had extensive
contact with Duncan who was admitted to that hospital
on September 28 and died on October 8, 2014.
Duncan carried the deadly virus with him from his home
country Liberia, though he showed no signs when he left
for the United States. He is believed to have contracted
the virus while helping a pregnant woman sick with
Ebola. That woman later died.
Health officials have so far identified 10 people,
including seven health workers, who had direct contact
with Duncan while he was contagious. Another 38
people also may have come into contact with him.
Despite taking apparent and prescribed safety precautions
like wearing protective gear, gloves, mask, and a face
shield, Nina Pham, the nurse in Dallas became infected
with the Ebola virus.
On Friday, October 10, she reported a low-grade fever
overnight and was referred for testing. Pham was then
isolated within 90 minutes in the hospital's ICU and
referred for testing. The preliminary test result,
confirming an Ebola infection, was received late
Saturday, October 11, 2014.
Health Officials are now investigating how exactly Pham
might have contracted the Ebola virus. Another person
who had close contact with Pham has since been isolated,
and hazmat teams have cleaned the apartment and the
surrounding complex in Nina Pham lived.
A similar, so far unexplained failure occurred recently at
a hospital in Madrid, Spain. A nursing assistant was last
week diagnosed as being infected with the Ebola virus.
She had cared for a missionary priest who contracted
Ebola in Sierra Leone and who later died. That woman,
like the nurse in Dallas, is believed to have complied
with safety protocols.
How to become infected
Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids of
a sick person or the remains of someone who has died of
Ebola, or exposure to objects such as needles that have
been contaminated. The illness has an average 8-10 day
incubation period (although it could be from 2 to 21
days), and therefore CDC recommends monitoring
exposed people for symptoms a complete 21 days.
People are not contagious before symptoms such as fever
Infection with the Ebola virus causes severe disease in
humans. The onset of symptoms is sudden and generally
includes fever. A recent review of cases indicates that
83% of the more than 4 000 patients surveyed presented
with fever in the course of the disease. Therefore, fever is
a relatively sensitive symptom for the detection of Ebola
Virus Disease (EVD).
However, 13% of symptomatic patients may not present
initially with fever. In addition, fever is one of the most
common symptoms of any infectious disease. In the
context of West African countries, several common