What’s wrong with this picture?
A little explanation is in order:
This photo, which was taken by a news helicopter, shows the Texas apartment community of Thomas Eric Duncan. In case you haven’t heard the name, Mr. Duncan, aka “Patient Zero” is the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
The people in the picture are workers at the apartment community using a power washer to clean away Mr. Duncan’s vomit. This is a very, very bad idea! There are 3 reasons why.
Reason 1: Mr. Duncan’s vomit is infected with Ebola.
Reason 2: Pressure from the power washer causes the infected vomit to become airborne in the form of an aerosol mist
Reason 3: People—like the workers or tenants—may breathe in the tiny droplets of infected mist that linger in the air.
The Moral: Vomit and other bodily fluids infected with Ebola should not be cleaned with compressed air, pressurized water sprays or other methods that can create infected mists. The workers performing the cleanup operation should also be wearing proper PPE, including gloves, eye and face protection and surgical masks.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Ebola Is Dangerous
The Ebola virus causes illnesses that are not only potentially fatal but contagious.
HOW YOU CAN GET EBOLA
The Risks of Infection
The good news is that Ebola is not very contagious. It generally doesn’t spread as a result of airborne exposure the way some other viruses like measles and influenza do. That means you can’t get infected with Ebola as a result of casual contact like getting sneezed or coughed on.
But you can get it by making direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of a person or animal that’s infected with Ebola. Such contact is most likely to happen to:
8 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM INFECTION
1. Wear protective gloves to prevent contaminated blood and bodily fluids from making contact with open sores or being absorbed through the skin of your hands
2. After taking off your gloves, wash your hands and throw the dirty gloves in properly labelled biohazard containers
3. Wear a surgical mask or other appropriate respiratory equipment
4. Wear goggles, face shields or other appropriate eye and face protection
5. Wear gowns, aprons or fluid-resistant clothing to protect against being splattered or splashed with infected materials
6. Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol hand rubs immediately before and after handling contaminated material and after removing protective gloves
7. When cleaning infectious materials, don’t use compressed air, power washers or similar methods that generate contaminated mists
8. Seek immediate medical help if you develop fever of 101.5°F/38.6°C and any of the other following symptoms:
FOR MORE HELP PROTECTING WORKERS AGAINST INFECTIOUS ILLNESSES