CDC monitoring tech for possible Ebola exposure – SFGate

PHILLIP LUCA, Associated Press

By PHILLIP LUCAS, Associated Press
Updated 8:24 pm, Wednesday, December 24, 2014

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A health care worker in Dallas who provided care for the country’s first Ebola patient tested positive for the deadly virus. Here is a look at how the disease spread. 

A health care worker in Dallas who provided care for the country’s…

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Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images When is Ebola contagious?

Only when someone is showing symptoms, which can start with vague symptoms including a fever, flu-like body aches and abdominal pain, and then vomiting and diarrhea.

Health care workers wait for the arrival of a possible Ebola patient at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on October 8, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first confirmed Ebola virus patient in the U.S., died earlier today.

When is Ebola contagious?

Only when someone is showing symptoms,…

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Photo: LM Otero, STF How does Ebola spread?

Through close contact with a symptomatic person’s bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with contaminated hands, or being splashed. That’s why health care workers wear protective gloves and other equipment. The World Health Organization says blood, feces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been culled from sweat.

Pedestrians walk outside Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. A patient in the hospital is showing signs of the Ebola virus and is being kept in strict isolation with test results pending, hospital officials said Monday. 

How does Ebola spread?

Through close contact with a symptomatic…

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Photo: LM Otero, STF How does Ebola spread? 

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Oct. 12, 2014, that a health-care worker who provided hospital care for the first patient to die from Ebola in the United States has tested positive for the virus. The worker, who was not identified, was wearing full protective gear while attending to the patient during his second visit to the hospital. If the diagnosis is confirmed, it would be the first known case of Ebola being transmitted in the U.S. div>

Hazardous material cleaners prepare to hang black plastic Friday outside the apartment in Dallas where Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who traveled from Liberia.

How does Ebola spread? 

The Texas Department of State Health…

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Photo: John Moore, Staff What about casual contact? 

Ebola isn’t airborne. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said people don’t get exposed by sitting next to someone on the bus. “This is not like flu. It’s not like measles, not like the common cold. It’s not as spreadable, it’s not as infectious as those conditions,” he added.

What about casual contact?�

Ebola isn’t airborne. Dr. Tom…

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Photo: John Moore, Staff

Who gets tested when Ebola is suspected? 

Hospitals with a suspected case call their health department or the CDC to go through a checklist to determine the person’s level of risk. Among the questions are whether the person reports a risky contact with a known Ebola patient, how sick they are and whether an alternative diagnosis is more likely. Most initially suspicious cases in the U.S. haven’t met the criteria for testing.

A Liberian woman throws a handful of soil toward the body of her sister as an Ebola burial team takes her for cremation. In neighboring Sierra Leone, officials are switching to a home-care strategy to battle the deadly disease. 

Who gets tested when Ebola is suspected? 

Hospitals with a…

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Photo: Joe Raedle, Staff How is it cleaned up? 

The CDC says bleach and other hospital disinfectants kill Ebola. Dried virus on surfaces survives only for several hours.

A member of the Cleaning Guys hazmat cleanup company removes items from the apartment where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan was staying.

How is it cleaned up? 

The CDC says bleach and other hospital…

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Photo: Brynn Anderson, AP FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, licensed clinician Hala Fawal practices drawing blood from a patient using a dummy in Anniston, Ala. A laboratory technician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being monitored Wednesday for possible accidental exposure to the Ebola virus that came during an experiment, officials said. The person working in a secure laboratory in Atlanta may have come into contact with a small amount of a live virus, CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said in an emailed statement.

FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, licensed clinician…

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Photo: Michael Ainsworth, MBR Dr. Kent Brantly went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Oct. 12, 2014, to donate plasma for nurse Nina Pham, who fell ill after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first Ebola case in the U.S.

Brantly got Ebola while caring for patients in Africa, and received plasma from a 14-year-old boy who recovered under his care there. Brantly also received ZMapp, an experimental drug that contains antibodies against Ebola.

Here is some background about the current treatment options:

Dr. Kent Brantly went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in…

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Photo: Abbas Dulleh, AP Q. What are antibodies?

A. Antibodies are made by the immune system to fight a germ, and they remain in the blood for some time after an infection resolves. Certain immune system cells replenish them so the person is able to fight off infection if the same germ turns up again.

It takes time for an Ebola patient to make enough, so the patient may need someone else’s antibodies to fight the disease until they can produce their own.

Q. What are antibodies?

A. Antibodies are made by the immune…

CDC monitoring tech for possible Ebola exposure

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ATLANTA (AP) — A laboratory technician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was being monitored Wednesday for possible accidental exposure to the Ebola virus that came during an experiment, officials said.

The person working in a secure laboratory in Atlanta may have come into contact with a small amount of a live virus, CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said in an emailed statement. The experimental material was on a sealed plate, but wasn’t supposed to be moved into the lab in which the technician was working, Reynolds said. The worker will be monitored for 21 days and the person’s name hasn’t been released.

Additional employees have been notified, but none has required monitoring, Reynolds said. Other staff will be assessed for exposure.

There is no risk to the public and lab scientists notified CDC officials of what happened on Tuesday, Reynolds said. The lab has been decontaminated twice, and the material in question was destroyed before CDC officials became aware of the mistake.

The possible exposure is under internal investigation and has been reported to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, Reynolds said.

Transfers from the lab the experiment material came from have been stopped during the internal review, and the lab the exposure may have happened in is closed, Reynolds said.

The technician’s potential exposure is at least the second to prompt a precautionary response from the agency in six months.

In June, at least 52 workers at the CDC took antibiotics as a precaution because a lab safety problem was thought to have exposed them to anthrax.

News of the technician’s possible exposure to Ebola comes days after CDC Director Tom Frieden returned from West Africa, where an outbreak of the virus has killed thousands. Frieden said Monday that response to the outbreak has improved significantly in recent months, but the virus continues to spread in Monrovia, Liberia and Conakry, Guinea.

Public health officials have said Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected with the virus — putting health care workers and those in close quarters with infected people at higher risk of contracting the virus. Four health care and aid workers who contracted the virus have been treated and released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

In a statement, Frieden said he’s troubled by the technician’s potential exposure and the CDC has worked to improve safety protocols as it helps respond to the outbreak in Africa.

“I have directed that there be a full review of every aspect of the incident and that CDC take all necessary measures,” he said.

The CDC plans to publish a report on what happened, Reynolds said. It is also planning to report the potential exposure to an external advisory committee that offers advice on best practices in lab science and safety.

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