What You Need To Know About The Ebola and Enterovirus D68

An AAHPO Medical Alert

 

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AAHPO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Lawrence V. Najarian, MD,President

Ted Chaglassian, MD, Past President

Arthur Kubikian, DDS
Vice President


Knarig Khatchadurian Meyer, PhD Corresponding Secretary

Tsoline Kojaoghlanian, MD
Recording Secretary

Garbis Baydar, MD
Treasurer

Louiza Puskulian-Kubikian, DDS
Membership Committee

Khoren Nalbandian, RPh
Parlimentarian

Edmund L. Gergerian, MD
Historian

Aram Cazazian, DDS
Vicken Pamoukian, MD
Terenig Terjanian, MD
Raffy Hovanessian, MD
Kim Hekimian, PhD  


 

 

As a case of Ebola in Texas is receiving national media attention, and several deaths have been reported in connection with Enterovirus-D68, many of us are concerned about the potential impact of these infectious diseases. Fortunately we have accurate information from the CDC and our own infectious disease specialists, Tsoline Kojoaghlanian, MD and Mihran Seferian, MD to help us sort it out.

Ebola Virus

Ebola care

 

The CDC asserts that Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public. Ebola is spread only through direct contact with bodily fluids, and people infected with Ebola are not contagious to others until symptoms have appeared. CDC has very well-established protocols in place to isolate people who may have been exposed and monitor them for appearance of Ebola symptoms. These protocols are being enforced in Texas.

 

Q. What is Ebola?

A. Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus though 8-10 days is most common.

  

Q: Are there any cases of individuals contracting Ebola in the U.S.?

A. No.

 

Ebola isolation unit
This unit isolates Ebola patients being transported by airplane.
Q. What about Americans ill with Ebola who are being brought to the U.S. for treatment? 

A. CDC has very well-established protocols in place to ensure the safe transport and care of patients with infectious diseases back to the United States. These procedures cover the entire process -- from patients leaving their bedside in a foreign country to their transport to an airport and boarding a non-commercial airplane equipped with a special transport isolation unit, to their arrival at a medical facility in the United States that is appropriately equipped and staffed to handle such cases. CDC's role is to ensure that travel and hospitalization is done to minimize risk of spread of infection and to ensure that the American public is protected. Patients were evacuated in similar ways during SARS. 

 

Q. Can Ebola be transmitted through the air?

A. No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air.

 

Q. Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water?

No. Ebola is not a food-borne illness.  It is not a water-borne illness.

 

Q. Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn't have any symptoms?

A. No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms.

 

Q. What is being done to prevent ill passengers in West Africa from getting on a plane?

A. CDC is assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. In addition, airports in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are screening all outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms, including fever, and passengers are required to respond to a healthcare questionnaire.  CDC is also surging support in the region by deploying 50 additional workers to help build capacity on the ground.


Q. What is CDC doing in the U.S.?

On the remote possibility that an ill passenger enters the U.S., CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, isolation. CDC has also provided guidance to airlines for managing ill passengers and crew and for disinfecting aircraft. CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice reminding U.S. healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and isolate suspected patients and how they can protect themselves from infection.

 

Q. What does the CDC's Travel Alert Level 3 mean to U.S. travelers?

A. On July 31, the CDC elevated their warning to U.S. citizens encouraging them to defer unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone over concerns that travelers may not have access to health care facilities and personnel should they need them in country.

 

Learn more about the Ebola Virus.

 

Signs and symptoms of Ebola.

 

Can Ebola be prevented? 

 

Learn more from the CDC.

 

 

Enterovirus-D68

 

The CDC confirms this respiratory illness is caused by enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68). Most cases have been concentrated in the Midwest, but cases have been reported in New York, New Jersey and other states. Although this virus can cause serious symptoms in some children, it is not by itself a life-threatening disease. The few reported deaths appear to be related to concurrent infections or complicating medical conditions.

What parents need to know

  • EV-D68 primarily causes respiratory illness, ranging from a mild cold, with runny nose, throat and muscle aches, to severe illness with bad cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing and pneumonia. 
  • Asthma is a risk factor for more severe symptoms with EV-D68. Over three quarters of children with EV-D68 have also had asthma. Getting asthma under control is always a priority, and this infection serves as a reminder to check in with your child's doctor and ensure you're maximizing prevention efforts.
  • EV-D68 is getting attention because of the severity of the wheezing and respiratory complications in a small percentage of affected children, burdening them with difficulty breathing, with keeping their oxygen levels up, and causing wheezing and shortness of breath. 
  • If your child experiences any of the latter symptoms, report immediately to your child's doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room.  
  • There is no medication to treat this infection and there is no vaccine to prevent it.
  • EV-D68 is spread when infected people sneeze or cough. If a child wipes their nose while infected, for example, and then smears it on the table, those who touch those secretions can get the virus.
  • Prevention of spread is most important: Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds prior to eating and after coughing/sneezing, or after changing diapers, having children and adults stay home when very ill, covering cough and sneezes, and cleaning surfaces regularly.
  • Enterovirus is not "the flu". The flu is caused by a different virus caused influenza and can have similar symtoms to EV-D68 including life-threatening complications. The huge advantage is that we have a vaccine to prevent influenza, so a quick reminder to get in as soon as possible for your family's flu vaccines.

Learn more from the CDC.

 

Have More Questions?
Please Call the AAHPO Hotline: 201-546-6166

 

AAHPO Medical Alerts are brought to you by AAHPO Healthcare Professionals. AAHPO's strength lies in its highly dedicated and talented professionals who are inspired to help others. Please turn to AAHPO when you have medical concerns and questions.

 

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