Tag Archives: EBOLA


Ebola_virus_virionEbola is a major topic in the news and clearly it is on our minds a good bit.   In fact, we may soon hear about a case of two in the Phoenix area…that would not be a surprise.

The risks of being exposed to this type of virus is very very low in most parts of the country, and given that the Ebola virus is not very easily transmissible there is much less true concern than may seem to be the case based on all the news coverage.

What can you personally do to keep from getting Ebola?  It’s simple:

1.  Don’t travel to West Africa.   This may seem trite, but it’s about ‘perspective’.   There are tens of millions of people who live in the immediate area and are not getting infected, so clearly it has limited transmissibility, and if you are not travelling to that highly exposed area, your risk are diminished by an enormous amount.

2.  Wash your hands with soap and water.   What a novel idea!  This is the best method for preventing transmission of all types of virus.  Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s helpful…and is something you should be doing more regularly.  Studies repeatedly demonstrate the benefits of this simple technique, yet we ignore it regularly.  If you cannot use soap and water, then hand-sanitizer can be used as an alternative.

3.  Reduce kissing ‘hello’ and handshakes.   Use fist bumps and a respectful ‘bow’ instead.  Of course, this is not a ‘must’….I’m just saying…if you are worried, this is a habit you can change.

4.  If you are overly worried and feel you need to do more to assuage your concerns, you can consider taking a statin medication as a preventive.  It does not prevent infection, but very well may prevent ‘death’ from Ebola and is a simple and safe way to protect yourself if you find that your worries overtake your rational perspective on the topic. (Read my previous blogpost on that topic >>>>>HERE<<<<<)

The seriousness of EBOLA is clear, but fortunately this is a difficult-to-transmit infection and is unlikely to come to our area in a way that would expose a significant number of people to illness, so let’s all try to keep our composure and perspective.  One day in the future, we may really be confronted with a virus that is virulent AND transmissible, and then we will all need to make an effort to be smart and safe.




virus blueAs those of you who read my blog know, STATIN medications like Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, and Crestor have been shown to have potential benefits in reducing complications of pneumonia and sespsis (overwhelming bloostream infection).  I have posted about this in the past….READ>>>>HERE<<<<

Now, some researchers are suggesting a broad use of these medications to prevent overwhelming infection in victims of EBOLA, reasoning that such an infection has many similiarities to sepsis in how the body reacts and is injured by the infectious agent.  A cascade of chemical reactions internally to the virus, mediated by self-generated chemicals, is a large part of the aberration causing physical collapse.  If the broad population at risk, including children, was on such an inexpensive medication preventively, then if they became infected, they would run a milder and safe course.

Of course this is only speculation, but as the researchers note….what do we have to lose when we have so little to offer victims of the infection right now.  It just may be time to use statins broadly in the West African nations to prevent death fro EBOLA.

Read more >>>>>HERE<<<<<


310314ebolaThe latest studies in treating Ebola are looking promising using the ZMAPP antibodies, which are produced by a company in San Diego.

When given to 18 monkeys infected with the Ebola virus, all monkeys survived the infection.  When the 3 monkeys were infected and treated with placebo, all died.

This was the data that encouraged the use of this antibody in treating the two Americans who were recently released from the hospitals after finalizing treatment in the U.S.

These antibodies coat and neutralize the Ebola virus.  They are created through a complex process that involves identifying antibodies to Ebola in mice, fusing these antibodies with human antibody components, and then having the entire structure genetically produced in tobacco plans.  This complex process then results in three antibodies that provide passive immunity when injected into the infected person.

The next step in making this a viable treatment is developing methods for large-scale production of these antibodies and then providing treatment in compassionate use situations for current infected individuals in Africa.




Ebola_virus_virionThe Center for Disease Control has acknowledged the first case of EBOLA in the US.  

Although it was a ‘matter of time’ until such a case presented in the US, this underscores the importance of the worldwide effort to prevent the spread of this virus in Africa, to prevent more widespread infection across the globe.

Although we should all be aware of the EBOLA virus, the potential for infection remains very small under nearly all circumstances, but I would not go so far as to be ‘certain’ that this single case will not have other cases connected to it.

Good hygiene, including hand-washing and avoiding contact with strangers that is unecessary, will go a long way toward preventing the spread of infection, there is also a potential benefit for those patients on STATIN medications, as this can minimize the symptoms and may prevent death from the EBOLA VIRUS.