Ronald R. Cherry
October 7, 2014
Sitting ducks
By Ronald R. Cherry

A Spanish nurse has contracted Ebola – in Spain – while caring for a Spanish Priest who became infected with Ebola in West Africa. The Priest died of Ebola, so let's pray that his nurse survives.

"A nursing auxiliary in Madrid has tested positive for Ebola after treating a patient in the Spanish capital, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais. The case is believed to be first in which a person contracts Ebola from a source outside of Africa. While the woman has not been identified, El Pais reports that she is 44 years old, married without children, and originally from Galicia, though she has worked for more than 15 years in Carlos III Hospital in Madrid. She has not left Spain or come in contact with the Ebola virus except for her work in treating Manual García Viejo... The newspaper notes that the nurse brought herself to Alcorcón hospital's emergency room after experiencing a fever, and was tested twice for Ebola, both times with positive results. Co-workers tell El Pais they are shocked by the contamination, given that the hospital used "extreme" protection against the disease."

The Spanish nurse likely became infected with Ebola via airborne transmission. No doubt she had extreme protection against direct contact with the body and body fluids of the Ebola patient, but that is not good enough.

"Being at first skeptical that Ebola virus could be an aerosol-transmissible disease, we are now persuaded by a review of experimental and epidemiologic data that this might be an important feature of disease transmission, particularly in healthcare settings... We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks... We strongly urge the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to seek funds for the purchase and transport of PAPRs [powered air-purifying respirators] to all healthcare workers currently fighting the battle against Ebola throughout Africa – and beyond."

Airborne transmission of Ebola probably accounts for this case and others, such as Dr. Kent Brantly, who also exercised extreme caution – but not enough caution – he did not use a HEPA-filtered full face respirator. Under CDC guidelines healthcare workers are protected against direct contact but not against inhalation or eye exposure to microscopic contaminated droplet nuclei, which cannot be seen and which can travel across a room with air currents, and which can remain infectious for about an hour and a half.

"The potential for transmission via inhalation of aerosols, therefore, cannot be ruled out by the observed risk factors or our knowledge of the infection process. Many body fluids, such as vomit, diarrhea, blood, and saliva, are capable of creating inhalable aerosol particles in the immediate vicinity of an infected person. Cough was identified among some cases in a 1995 outbreak in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and coughs are known to emit viruses in respirable particles. The act of vomiting produces an aerosol and has been implicated in airborne transmission of gastrointestinal viruses. Regarding diarrhea, even when contained by toilets, toilet flushing emits a pathogen-laden aerosol that disperses in the air... Aerosolized (1-3 mcm) Marburg, Ebola, and Reston viruses, at 50% to 55% relative humidity and 72°F, had biological decay rates of 3.04%, 3.06%. and 1.55% per minute, respectively. These rates indicate that 99% loss in aerosol infectivity would occur in 93, 104, and 162 minutes, respectively."

If, as the CDC asserts, Ebola is not transmitted through the air by microscopic droplet nuclei, then why do U.S. Government and American academic researchers take care to handle the Ebola virus only in BL4 biocontainment facilities while the rest of us are left to struggle against Ebola at the local hospital? The potential for this strain of Ebola is exponential, and we have 300 million unvaccinated sitting ducks – we Americans. Our government has failed in its primary duty – to defend and protect the American people. I believe our pharmaceutical companies would have developed Ebola vaccines years ago were it not for Big Brother.

© Ronald R. Cherry

 

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Ronald R. Cherry

Ronald R. Cherry, MD, is a board-certified specialist in lung disease who is in the full-time practice of medicine in Sweetwater, Tennessee... (more)

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