Click on the video to hear John Hanlin, Ecolab vice president, Food Safety and Public Health, discuss the Ebola virus, how it is transmitted and how the risk of viral infection in general can be reduced.
Read below to learn more about the Ebola virus, what public health authorities recommend, what you can do, and how Ecolab can help.
The Ebola virus causes Ebola Virus Disease, previously called Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. The disease is severe and often fatal in humans and other primates. Fatality rates can be as high as 90 percent. In the 2014 West Africa outbreak, more than one of every two people infected have died.
The virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the West African nation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over the intervening years, sporadic outbreaks have occurred in West Africa, each of which has been contained within a relatively small area. An outbreak that began in the West African nation of Guinea in March 2014 and quickly spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.1 The World Health Organization declared Nigeria free of Ebola virus transmission as of October 20, 2014.2
The human chain of infection in the 2014 Ebola outbreak began in West Africa where it is believed a human came into direct contact with an Ebola-infected animal or consumed contaminated animal milk, blood or raw or undercooked meat.
Human-to-human transmission is believed to occur in at least two ways:
The virus is believed to enter the body through open wounds or through the mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose and mouth.
Public health authorities believe that Ebola is not contagious until an infected person begins to show symptoms. People at highest risk of contracting the disease include health care workers and family and friends who may come into close contact with an infected individual who has a fever or other symptoms.
Stringent guidelines for protection in cases of confirmed or suspected Ebola infection have been issued by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, the German Federal Health Authority and other national public health authorities.6,7,8 The websites of these organizations provide extensive information about Ebola and its control.
These are basics every organization can do every day – steps you can take to help ensure an environment that is healthy for your customers, your employees and you.
In the case of disinfecting to protect against Ebola, we recommend disinfectant products specified by local and national public health authorities, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), Health Canada, the German Federal Health Authority (RKI) or the World Health Organization (WHO). If local guidance is not available in your area, we suggest following the recommendations of these leading authorities.
Currently, no disinfectant products can make specific claims against the Ebola virus. However, the CDC has offered this guidance for hospitals: “Use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered hospital disinfectant with a label claim for a non-enveloped virus (e.g., norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, poliovirus) to disinfect environmental surfaces in rooms of patients with suspected or conformed Ebola virus infection.” 9
The CDC notes that the Ebola virus, which is an “enveloped” virus, is susceptible to a broad range of disinfectants when used on hard, non-porous surfaces. However, as an extra precaution in healthcare environments, the CDC recommends the use of higher-potency disinfectant products – the type that would be used to protect against more resistant “non-enveloped” viruses.
In Europe, RKI recommends that disinfectants with a label claim of “effective against enveloped viruses” be used according to the Robert Koch Institute and the German Association for the Control of Virus Diseases.10
On strong evidence that bleach and non-bleach disinfectants are effective against the Ebola virus, WHO recommends 1:10 dilution of 5 percent household bleach for clean-up of vomit or diarrhea and a 1:100 dilution of bleach for general surface disinfection.11
In addition, Ecolab representatives are available to provide training on best practices in cleaning and disinfection and the proper use of products and tools for your business.
Protecting people from infection is in everyone’s best interest. Success requires commitment to following best practices day in and day out, to innovation to find new and better solutions and to a shared concern for communities near and far. Ecolab is pleased to be part of the effort.
Download: Ebola Virus Fact Sheet
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Download: Ebola Virus Fact Sheet