WOULD YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO AN EBOLA OUTBREAK?
Rising concerns about the threat of Ebola in this country have led to greater attention to natural needs and resources that can affect survival. Part of the issue with Ebola preparedness is that there are still a number of factors that are unknown about the virus, and this has led to some confusion regarding susceptibility. At present, the vectors for Ebola contagion include:
• Person to person contact
• Bodily fluids
• Handling items that are contaminated with fluids
• Coming in contact with articles that were used by an infected individual
However, it should be noted that the virus does not originate from a human host but is contracted through an as-yet unidentified means. Some speculation is that initial outbreaks from nearly 50 years ago may have originated through human to primate or human to bat contact, although there is also some speculation that fecal contaminants from these species in water supplies may also have perpetrated the spread. The result is that concern for proper protection can include a number of observances that can promote survival.
One of the primary concerns with Ebola is the fact that contact and bodily fluids are known vectors. This means that one stage of preparation for an Ebola outbreak in this country includes:
• Protective clothing, including gloves
• Eye goggles or other types of shields
• Face masks that cover both nose and mouth
While these precautions can reduce contamination risks, it is also important that people realize that disposal and safe keeping of this protective gear can further play a part in reducing contamination. Another great concern is food and water supplies, especially with the possibility of water contagion as a form of spread for the virus. For this reason it is also important for people to ensure that they have:
• Adequate and appropriate water storage
• Filtration that includes the removal of toxins and microbes, i.e. UV processing, iodine tincture, or reverse osmosis filters
• Personal food supplies, including long-term food storage kits in individually sealed bags
• Personal utensils that are not shared
• Fire or heat source, for cooking and for sterilizing items or water
Because the known vectors for contagion do include contact and bodily fluids, it can be vitally important for people to make sure that personal supplies are sufficient, but also that other members in a family or household are equally well prepared. This may include working with loved ones or children to develop the survival strategy and initiate long-term food storage, but this can also include educating through experiential practice that includes a mock run of an emergency situation.