Ebola, Enterovirus: Your Questions Answered

Increased concerns for the Ebola and Enterovirus D-68 have many locals worried about their health and trying to get the facts about each virus.

Some of those concerns were posted on the NBC10 Facebook page where two local doctors then answered NBC10 viewer questions.

Dr. Rani Bright from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine weighs in on everything from how Ebola is spread to what role your immune system plays in fighting the disease.

Does someone’s immune system factor in to whether they are cured or not?

The immune system plays an important role in any infectious disease and Ebola is no exception. Fifty percent of the people who have been exposed to and gotten Ebola have recovered and the immune system has a role.

How long will Ebola last outside a host?

Ebola is not environmentally transmitted but it can survive on smooth-nonporous surfaces for a few days, though it loses its potency.

I work in a gym should I worry about people sweating, etc.?

No need to worry. Healthy people usually go to gym and your hand washing should protect you.

I heard that the deceased in Africa from the Ebola virus are being buried versus cremated … Will the virus lie dormant in those bodies buried and in the ground/water etc.? And are dogs able to get the virus?

No, dogs are not known to carry Ebola. Participating in rituals, funerals, kissing and bathing the dead bodies of Ebola victims and clipping their nails can transmit Ebola. I am not aware of any studies looking into how long the Ebola virus can survive in dead bodies. We know that smallpox virus can survive in dead bodies for many years.

Why are we still letting infected people come to America from other places? Should we just stop them?

In USA five major airports are set up for quarantine and people coming from West African countries undergo several layers of rigorous protocol. At this point there are no travel bans as WHO has not declared Ebola as a “Pandemic.” It calls for taking precautions if one has to fly to West Africa for essential travel. USA has a plan in place to protect its people and they are in the works.

What can we do to make sure our local hospitals are not dropping the ball (in Ebola preparedness)?

This is changing fast and now we have revised our guidelines to protect the health care workers. It involves N-95 (mask) or PAPR (protective gear), no skin exposed and buddy system. Few hospitals are designated to triage the patients and to ultimately transport to one of four bio-contained units in USA.

Meanwhile, many parents are still worried about the Enterovirus and wondering what they can do to protect their children and themselves.

Dr. George Avetian, Senior Medical Advisor in Delaware County clears up any confusion viewers may have about Enterovirus D-68.

Some of the Enterovirus symptoms are the same as flu … How do you know when it is bad (enough) to take them to a hospital?

Enterovirus poses its greatest danger to the very young (infants and children). Any child that has flu like symptoms needs medical attention promptly. If a child has underlying pulmonary problems (asthma, cystic fibrosis …) they are at greatest risk. It’s best to be aggressive and seek immediate medical care than to wit.

Is the flu vaccine something that will help prevent Enterovirus?

No. Flu vaccine does not prevent Enterovirus. You should still receive the flu vaccine as it is important in preventing flu which causes many deaths each year.

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