Sunday, October 12, 2014

CDC protocol insufficient, medical worker in Texas tests positive for Ebola

On October 12, 2014, a female hospital worker in Dallas, Texas has tested positive for Ebola, after helping treat Thomas Eric Duncan. The worker was wearing a gown, gloves, mask and other protective gear, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety protocols.

Biosafety Level 4 or BSL-4 is “supermax”, the highest level of protection, which is required when working with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of infection with a life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, for which there are no vaccines or treatments, or related agents with unknown risk of transmission. Ebola clearly meets these criteria. 

The exact mode of transmission is currently unknown and there is no cure for the disease, which takes lives of up to 90% of its victims. In addition to being present in body fluids, Ebola is also present on a patient’s skin after symptoms develop and remains in semen for months after patient’s recovery.

The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thomas Frieden, claimed that the safety protocols must have been “breached.” The real issue at hand is that current CDC protocols are grossly insufficient. They provide a level-two protection, while the only safe way of dealing with Ebola requires wearing a level-four biological security full-body suit and taking misty chemical showers with proper disinfectants.