The highly respected Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota just advised the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) that “there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles,” including exhaled breath.
CIDRAP is warning that surgical facemasks do not prevent transmission of Ebola, and healthcare professionals (HCP) must immediately be outfitted with full-hooded protective gear and powered air-purifying respirators.
CIDRAP since 2001 has been a global leader in addressing public health preparedness regarding emerging infectious diseases and bio-security responses. CIDRAP’s opinion on Ebola virus is there are “No proven pre- or post-exposure treatment modalities;” “A high case-fatality rate;” and “Unclear modes of transmission.”
In April of 2014, CIDRAP published a commentary on Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) that confirmed the disease “could be an aerosol-transmissible disease, especially in healthcare settings,” similar to the known aerosol transmission capability of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Although CIDRAP acknowledges that they were “first skeptical that Ebola virus could be an aerosol-transmissible disease,” they are “now persuaded by a review of experimental and epidemiologic data that this might be an important feature of disease transmission, particularly in healthcare settings.”
CDC’s published “Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals” states: “HCP should wear gloves, a gown, disposable shoe covers, and either a face shield that fully covers the front and sides of the face or goggles, and respiratory protection that is at least as protective as a NIOSH certified fit-tested N95 filtering facepiece respirator.”
Written by CHRISS W. STREET
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