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Ebola U.S. Outbreak Updates and Possible Vaccine In The Works

Updated on October 16, 2014
2nd health care worker tested positive for Ebola
2nd health care worker tested positive for Ebola

2nd Nurse Infected With Ebola

What Went Wrong?

Even though Ebola is contracted through fluids of the body, the virus can be spread through exposure to the skin. The Dallas hospital did not have proper Ebola protocols in place. The health care workers were unsure of proper CDC protocols to avoid contamination, plus their protective gear did not cover their necks. When they brought this to their supervisor's attention, they were told to use medical tape to cover their necks. When they received their first Ebola patient they had no formal training on how to handle the patient without becoming exposed or contaminated themselves. The health care workers have also claimed that the waste from Duncan, the first Ebola patient they were caring for, was piled to the ceiling and there was no access to necessary supplies. This leaves a lot of loop holes and openings for contamination. There were several more workers that cared for Duncan and may also contract Ebola in the next coming days.

Nurses say their necks were exposed while treating Duncan, first U.S. Ebola patient.
Nurses say their necks were exposed while treating Duncan, first U.S. Ebola patient. | Source

Health Care Workers Were Learning Policies While Already Caring For Ebola Patient

The health care workers say that they started with one layer of protective gear while caring for the first Ebola patient and as his condition declined they continued to add layers of protective gear. They were unsure what needed to be added and areas that needed to be covered. There were no checks and balances performed to see if they were properly protected while caring for the first Ebola patient. At the time he was said to have explosive diarrhea, projectile vomiting and it became necessary to apply a diaper to the patient. The nurses have also claimed that Duncan was placed in the ER among other patients for some time until he was finally moved into isolation.

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2nd Nurse To Test Positive For Ebola Was On a Plane With Fever

The health care workers say that they started with one layer of protective gear while caring for the first Ebola patient and as his condition declined they continued to add layers of protective gear. They were unsure what needed to be added and areas that needed to be covered. There were no checks and balances performed to see if they were properly protected while caring for the first Ebola patient. At the time he was said to have explosive diarrhea, projectile vomiting and it became necessary to apply a diaper to the patient. The nurses have also claimed that Duncan was placed in the ER among other patients for some time until he was finally moved into isolation.

Even though the risk of the other airline passengers contracting Ebola from the 2nd nurse are minimal, since she was not exhibiting any symptoms that would cause exposure to bodily fluids the other passengers are still being questioned by CDC. Meanwhile the other 48 people that were in contact with Duncan, the first person to test positive for Ebola and die from the virus in the U.S., are still being monitored, but their window for possible contamination is about to close. This means that if they have not shown any signs of the virus by now, they are pretty much in the clear.

The nurses that treated Duncan however, are another story. There were 75 health care workers that may have been exposed to Duncan and are now being monitored for symptoms. It is possible for more to show signs of Ebola and are not allowed to board commercial flights during the period they are being monitored for Ebola symptoms. Once the 2nd nurse discovered she had a fever she immediately went to the hospital and was isolated. Officials are saying that if they would have known the Dallas hospital was not prepared or equipped to care for Ebola patients they would have transferred the first Ebola patient, Duncan to Emory or Nebraska as they have been prepared for years and have elaborate infectious disease areas and protocols already securely in place.

On Monday, human trials began for a possible Ebola vaccine.
On Monday, human trials began for a possible Ebola vaccine.

Canadian Ebola Vaccine Started Monday

Fortunately, there is new hope in treatment and vaccines to help fight the deadly virus. On Monday, Canada began human trials to test an Ebola vaccine. Also, an American Ebola survivor donated blood to 3 Ebola patients. One of them has already fully recovered and has been discharged, while the other two are still hospitalized in good condition. This has helped experts to realize that there is hope in using immune globulin, or purified antibodies to help Ebola victims fight off the deadly virus. This way it would not matter what blood type they are as whole blood is not being given. Not using whole blood also helps prevent the unintentional transmission of HIV, and other blood transmitted diseases. This system is especially promising in Africa as they have larger access to Ebola survivors and all it takes is a facility that has blood banking ability. Hopefully, these new procedures will take effect soon and the vaccine will prove to be promising for us all.

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    • nickico profile image
      Author

      Niquel Cozart 2 years ago from New Jersey suburb

      Thank you. Yes I agree. It does seem to be dying down as far as talks about it on the news and media, but there is still a big issue right now and they probably will not focus on it hoping the U.S. will forget.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I think altogether the health care officials in this country have done a pretty good job of isolating Ebola, unlike all the naysayers, and it is not surprising to me that now that the election is over and the politicians who were fanning the Ebola flames have been elected it is like Ebola never existed. You added a lot of details to the story of this Ebola victim that I was not aware of. Great hub!