Originally published October 5 2014
Ebola protection myths busted: 'direct contact' means indirect contact, N95 masks, full-face respirators and more
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) If ebola goes airborne, its spread would be utterly impossible to stop, say many experts. Some scientists insist the possibility of the virus mutating into a full-blown "airborne" variety is rather small, but no one denies that such risk increases with each and every day that the contagion is not stopped in Africa.
At the same time, ebola is now in America, having been confirmed in "patient zero" Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas. Because of this, a huge number of Americans and Canadians are now wisely investing in protective gear such as Tyvek body suits, N95 masks, respirators, latex gloves, isolation gowns and more. But most people have little or no training on how to use these items properly, so in the interests of public health and safety, I'm going to cover a few basics here.
As far as my own background goes, I'm trained in microbiology testing and I'm the director of the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, where I conduct food contamination testing using ICP-MS instrumentation. Although I'm not a doctor, I can easily cover the basics of safety from exposure to viral pathogens.
How ebola spreadsThe key point to understand in all this is that you can catch ebola by coming into contact with any body fluid that originated from another person.
The CDC is lying to the public when it says catching ebola requires "direct contact." It does not. You can catch ebola through indirect contact by coming into contact with the blood, saliva, mucous or other body fluids from an infected patient. This can happen over short distance through airborne aerosols, where the ebola virus hitches a ride on small particles of spit and mucous floating around in the air, for example.
The CDC actually sort of admits this on its ebola Q&A page , where it gives a definition for "direct contact" that actually sounds like the precise definition for what should be called "indirect contact." As the CDC says on its own website:
What does "direct contact" mean? Direct contact means that body fluids (blood, saliva, mucus, vomit, urine, or feces) from an infected person (alive or dead) have touched someone's eyes, nose, or mouth or an open cut, wound, or abrasion.
In other words, the CDC is saying that "direct contact" means indirect contact -- i.e. touching the fluid that came from an infected patient.
What this means is that you can acquire an ebola infection without ever touching an ebola victim.
It also means the use of the term "direct contact" by the CDC is pure doublespeak -- language used to obfuscate meaning rather than impart it.
Why N95 masks are not enough: use full face respirators for real protectionThis explains why N95 masks are not enough for protecting yourself from ebola. Most people don't know this, but N95 masks are actually designed to prevent the person who is wearing the mask from infecting others. These masks are NOT designed to protect the wearer from a contagion floating around in the air.
For starters, the "95" designation means they're only 95 percent effective at blocking particles in the air, and given that a single aerosolized droplet of blood contains enough ebola virus to infect half a million people, it hardly matters to block 95 percent of them if you're still inhaling five percent. N95 masks may be a great starting point, and they do offer some protection at a very affordable price, but you need a lot better protection if an outbreak is circulating.
The only truly effective way to block aerosolized particles is to use either a half-face respirator or a full-face respirator. Half-face respirators are readily available online or at hardware stores, and if properly fitted, they are extremely effective at blocking particles and aerosols. Both 3M, North Safety and MSA Safety Works all make highly effective respirators in half face and full face configurations. (You do not need a chemical "gas mask" because we're not talking about a chemical attack here. This is a biological which rides on aerosolized particles.)
If you wear only a half-face respirator, you'll need to also protect your eyes, because ebola virus easily enters through your eye ducts. (This is how the NBC news camera man reportedly acquired ebola, even without touching anyone.)
If you purchase goggles, keep in mind that goggles with ventilation channels obviously allow air to enter the goggle, so they are far less effective than a full face respirator.
Wash your respirators in a solution of water and bleachBleach kills ebola, so it's a good idea to stock up on some bleach right now. Any protective gear that you wear in public may acquire ebola contamination on its surfaces, so you'll need to decontaminate your gear using a water-bleach solution each time after wearing your gear anywhere near ebola patients or in areas where ebola contamination may have occurred.
Disposable gear, of course, doesn't need to be washed but it does need to be carefully contained in a biohazard containment / disposable vessel such as being sealed inside trash bags which are then placed inside sturdy barrels or other containers.
For washing reusable gear, I don't yet know exactly what strength of bleach is necessary in water to kill ebola, but my best guess right now would be 5% bleach and 95% water. Stronger laboratory cleaning solutions like Triton-X (which I use all the time in the ICP-MS lab) are likely effective at even lower concentrations such as 1% - 2%. Keep in mind these are just estimates. Don't bet your life on these numbers.
The decontamination scrub-downIf you've been in close proximity to ebola patients, you'll need to thoroughly decontaminate your protective gear with a bleach solution before you even remove the gear. This is usually a two-person operation, where the person wearing the suit stands in an isolated room or a makeshift outdoor shower and is meticulously scrubbed down with bleach and water by a second person doing the scrubbing and rinsing. This second person, of course, must also be wearing isolation gear or order to minimize their own risk of acquiring an infection from the washing process.
Keep in mind that a Tyvek body suit does not offer full protection against ebola all by itself. You still need shoe covers, a full face respirator and latex or nitrile gloves. Even then, risk of contamination is not reduced to zero. There's always a risk that a few ebola particles slip through the edges of the gear and end up on your body.
That's why I also personally recommend an immediate full body shower after the decontamination scrub-down. Ideally, you should be scrubbed and rinsed while wearing your gear, then you should remove the gear and strip down to being completely nude. You should then move to a different location where you experience a full body shower combined with a strong bleach-water soak and scrub for your feet (because you might have walked on ebola particles while making your way to the shower).
All your clothes should be thoroughly washed and then dried in direct sunlight. Because UV light destroys ebola, the more decontamination procedures you can conduct in direct sunlight, the better. In a real outbreak, I would set up an outdoor makeshift decontamination showed areas using a garden hose and an arrangement of heavy duty tarps or plastic sheeting. After the protective gear is scrubbed with bleach and water, I would set it in the sunlight to thoroughly dry, making sure I turned it over so that sunlight could treat both sides.
What you've read here is just the beginning of what you need to know if you wish to stay safe in an actual outbreak. Learn more lifesaving pandemic preparedness techniques in the free downloadable MP3 audio files at www.BioDefense.com
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