Ebola virus spreads from person-to-person through direct contact with tissue, organs, blood, or bodily fluids (including vomit, urine, sweat, saliva, semen, and breast milk) from an infected person and through surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids, including clothing, bedding, medical equipment, used needles, and syringes. “The virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membranes such as eyes, nose, or mouth and is not airborne; however, a cough from a sick person could infect someone who has been sprayed with infected saliva,” Drs. Anelich and Moy point out. “The virus is also present on a patient’s skin after symptoms develop.”
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Explore This IssueFebruary/March 2015
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Bush meat is traditionally eaten in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. “In some countries, bush meat is an important source of protein where other sources of animal protein are scarce or too expensive,” these authors explain. “If the Ebola epidemic continues, farmers may abandon their fields and food markets may be disrupted, which may increase demand for bush meat as a necessary alternative food source. Therefore, WHO has provided food safety advice concerning Ebola and has emphasized that if food products are properly prepared and cooked, humans cannot become infected by consuming them as the Ebola virus is inactivated through cooking.”
More specifically, the Ebola virus is inactivated by heating for 60 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or boiling for five minutes, according to Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre. WHO also emphasizes that basic hygiene measures can prevent infection in people in direct contact with infected animals or with raw meat and by-products. “Such measures include regular hand washing, handling potentially infected meat with gloves, and changing of clothes, boots, and other protective clothing before and after touching these animals and their products,” Drs. Anelich and Moy relate. “In addition, sick, diseased, or dead animals should never be consumed.”-L.L.L.