Avoiding an Ebola Epidemic
An educational opinion by Dr. Michael Wald, Blood Detective
DC, CDN, CCN, DACBN, CNS
Ebola – an infectious freak!
The Ebola virus may very well be here to stay. Ebola virus will transform itself, as all viruses’ do, increasing its deadliness making its way across the globe. Ebola is certainly not the first deadly virus to come along and if history is any indication, it will not be the last or necessarily the worst.
The mainstream media including CNN, Fox and other newscasts will continue to spew some correct information, outeight wrong facts and put a sensational spin on Ebola reports causing and contributing to confusion and irrational reactions. The CDC (Center of Disease Control) and other health agencies will continue to release public warnings and conduct investigations to help protect the public from hemorrhagic fever (aka, Ebola). What I would like to do is begin a conversation regarding how each of us can help safeguard our personal health and those around us. It is a scientific fact that your immunity to disease is in part under your control. The purpose of this series of blogs, Tweets and Facebook posts practical steps so that you, the public, can help reduce your risk of both contracting and perhaps dying of Ebola…if you should become infected.
Nutritional Fundamentals & Ebola
The Ebola virus, otherwise known as hemorrhagic fever, is similar to other infectious diseases and potential epidemics by virtue of the fact that there are certain measures that can be taken by ordinary people to reduce the risk of contracting this often fatal disease.
It is essential that the reader keep in mind that no statements within this blog are intended to suggest that one can cure Ebola or prevent it entirely with nutrition. However, it is well known and accepted scientifically that those persons with strong immune systems are afforded greater resistance against all manner of infectious diseases. Infectious disease and illness is always a combination of the resiliency of the infectious disease, for example how strong the Ebola virus is, relative to the person’s inherent immune strength.
This brief article will succinctly review my top picks of lifestyle strategies that can potentially add to one's overall health and well-being and may reduce one's risk of contracting a variety of infectious diseases. Also, even when one is exposed to infectious disease, the ability to recover from it is a matter of how strong the body's immune and overall healing capacity is. The nutritional compounds described below have been studied to favorably affect the outcome of those infected with a variety of infectious diseases, but not Ebola. Why? Because no one has studied nutrition and Ebola specifically. It stands to reason however that maximizing one’s immunity may have offset the potential for a fatal Ebola infection outcome.
Let me begin by reviewing some important facts about the Ebola virus:
1. The virus is transmitted from wild animals to people and spreads throughout the human population chain. This is known as human–to–human transmission.
2. The fatality of Ebola virus is approximate 50%, which means that half the people that contract it are likely die from it. However, various statistics have shown that the fatality rates may vary from between 25%-90% based on past outbreaks
3. Central Africa was the first place of the Ebola viral outbreak, which is located near tropical rainforests. The most recent Ebola outbreak seems to be in West Africa located in a major urban area, although rural areas as well.
4. Treatment: individual case management, contact tracing and surveillance of local and extended areas around the Ebola outbreak: excellent laboratory diagnostic services; proper procedures regarding mobilization of individuals around an outbreak and safe burials; intravenous and oral rehydration; symptomatic improvement of symptoms.
What you need to know…
What I will not do in this blog is review the basic background of when Ebola first occurred and where it seems to be currently, as this information can be found readily on reliable websites and newscasts. What I will do instead is discuss its basic transmission and preventative strategies…facts and theoretically strategies to reduce your risk of contracting and dying of Ebola.
1. Ebola is transmitted through the human population via close blood contact
2. Other body fluids and secretions will also transmit the disease, as can infected animals, such as monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas, fruit bats, porcupines, forest antelope, that are dead or alive. I suspect, although this is not necessarily proven, that a wide variety of other animals, perhaps domesticated animals might also transmit the Ebola virus. Again, whether or not cats, dogs, hamsters and gerbils can transfer the bola is entirely unknown from what I am aware.
3. These secretions of infected persons, including but not limited to blood and other body fluids will precipitate human-to-human transmission via direct contact. Even bedding such as pillowcases and sheets may become contaminated with infected body fluids and can potentially translate the Ebola virus.
4. Healthcare workers have been infected with Ebola virus and this has thought to have occurred because of improper safety precautions.
5. It is suspected that direct contact with the body of a deceased Ebola virus-infected individuals may also play a role in transmission.
6. Body fluids including semen can transmit the Ebola virus and in fact it is thought that men, even those who have recovered from the disease, can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after they have fully recovered from the illness. An individual will remain infected as long as their body fluids contain the virus; body fluids such as breast milk are thought to contain the virus in infected individuals.
Symptoms of Ebola
1. Ebola virus has an incubation period of between 2-21 days
2. It is thought that human beings are only infectious once they become symptomatic
3. A sudden onset of fever, along with fatigue, headaches, sore throat and muscle pain are characteristic of the onset of Ebola. These symptoms are generally followed by skin rash, impaired liver and kidney function, vomiting, diarrhea and also bleeding both internally and externally, such as oozing from the gums and also blood in stools.
4. Laboratory tests show a low white blood cell count along with low platelets and often elevated liver enzymes
The Ebola Mascaraed
Clearly the signs of the Ebola virus can be very similar to other types of infectious diseases, so if it takes excellent clinical skills and a high level of clinical suspicion to detect Ebola virus, which is then followed-up by the appropriate laboratory tests.
Meningitis, malaria and typhoid fever, as well as the ordinary flu can easily mimic and/or be confused for Ebola. Testing therefore, should include at least the following:
1. The Ebola virus isolation by cell culture
2. Evidence of Ebola virus upon electron microscopy
3. ELISA (antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)
4. Antigen capture detection techniques
5. Serum neutralization testing
6. RT-PCR (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay)
A qualified medical team with appropriate training in Ebola recognition and assessing biohazard risk are the one’s to establish containment conditions.
1. Supportive oral and intravenous hydration of fluids: this is been shown to improve survival of Ebola infected individuals
2. Experimental immune and other drug therapies including blood products are sometimes utilized
3. Vaccination for Ebola is not currently available but is undergoing human safety tests
1. The consumption of raw meat should be avoided as should contact with infected animals such as apes, monkeys, and fruit bats. Animals should be handled only when the appropriate gear, including but not limited to, protective clothing and gloves are available. Blood and meat, as well as other animal products should be inspected thoroughly before their consumption.
2. Probably the best prevention of Ebola virus infection is to avoid contact with Ebola infected individuals and particularly their body fluids. Regular and frequent hand washing is a must.
3. Identification of individuals who have been in contact with confirmed Ebola infected individuals must be sought.
4. Prompt and safe arrangements for deceased Ebola infected individuals must be practice.
5. Individuals known to be in contact with confirmed Ebola infected individuals should be monitored for at least 21 days and they should be separated from other individuals to avoid potential cross-contamination.
6. Healthcare workers should practice standard precautions, including and not limited to practicing excellent hygiene, including respiratory hygiene, wearing of protective equipment that can block splashes and other types of a contact with infected materials.
NUTRITION SECTION BELOW
Ebola and Nutrition…its proper place in infectious disease prevention and treatment
Once again, I cannot emphasize due to medical legal purposes, that the role of nutrition is that of supporting one's overall health and well-being. The concepts that I have been describing throughout this article are meant for educational purposes only and should not be mistaken or used in place of proper medical attention during any sickness, particularly if one suspects exposure or current infection with Ebola virus. The nutritional supportive information provided below is meant to help maintain the health of an individual, reducing one's risk and duration of various illnesses. It is well-known that avoidance of under-nutrition, and imbalanced nutrition plays a major role in one's susceptibility and duration of illness.
Preventative steps to take to help reduce your exposure and…
improve your resistance against disease.
My website contains several videos and/or audios as well as many articles on the concepts of general health and well being and maximizing one's immunity. Nutrition, when used properly can help prevent the onset and duration as well as social burdens of various infectious diseases. Here are my suggestions to help prevent exposure and improve your resiliency against infectious disease.
Do not Smoke. Smoking increases one’s risk of pulmonary infections and transmission to others. (Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2014 Sep 28. pii: S1472-9792(14)20481-1. doi: 10.1016/j.tube.2014.08.010. Tobacco exposure and susceptibility to tuberculosis: Is there a smoking gun? Chan ED1, Kinney WH2, Honda JR3, Bishwakarma R2, Gangavelli A2, Mya J2, Bai X2, Ordway DJ)
Do not consume excessive saturated fats (J Immunol. 2005 May 1;174(9):5390-7. Saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids reciprocally modulate dendritic cell functions mediated through TLR4.)
Vitamin D3 (Infect Immun. 2014 Jun;82(6):2585-94. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01814-14. Epub 2014 Mar 31.Vitamin d deficiency reduces the immune response, phagocytosis rate, and intracellular killing rate of microglial cell, Djukic M1, Onken ML, Schütze S, Redlich S, Götz A, Hanisch UK, Bertsch T, Ribes S, Hanenberg A, Schneider S,Bollheimer C, Sieber C, Nau R.)
· Do note consume refined and processed carbohydrates and sugars, including table sugar and desert foods
· Drink water until your urine appears similar in color to lemonade
· Eat 4-5 or even 5-6 small meals roughly evenly spaced throughout the course of the day that are composed of healthy sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats
· Do not consume fried foods and/or trans-fatty acids
· Take a multivitamin mineral complex
· Perform a vitamin C flush to determine your individual vitamin C needs
· Take zinc within a total vitamin mineral supplement and perhaps additional amounts of zinc
· Take an omega-3 essential fatty acid (PLoS One. 2014 Jan 29;9(1):e87181. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087181. eCollection 2014.Effects of parental omega-3 fatty acid intake on offspring microbiome and immunity. Myles IA, Pincus NB, Fontecilla NM, Datta SK.
· Consume 7-10 pieces of organic fruits and vegetables daily
· Consider food concentrates of fruits and vegetables that contain the dehydrated products of many dozens of fruits and vegetables
· Do not add salt to your diet next
· Do not consume excessive alcohol
· Eat organic foods if possible and meat which is free range
· Control your stress
· Rest adequately
· Take a potent probiotic or healthy bacteria supplement that is anti-fungal and anti "bad" bacteria
· Take a complex of nutritional supports that have been studied to help promote immune function
· Do not share personal items
· Travel wisely
· Avoid inhalation of airborne germs and viruses and consider wearing a face mask
· Do not consume contaminated food or water
· Practice safe sex, always using condoms, particularity if your partner has a history of sexually transmitted disease
· Wash your hair vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by drying with a paper towel
· If running water is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand gel or wipe
· If you must sneeze cover your mouth thoroughly even when you are not visibly sick, as coughing or sneezing spreads germs in microscopic droplets in the air for dozens of feet in multiple directions. Therefore, cover your mouth with your arm, the crook of your elbow or your sleeve as opposed to using your hands
· When traveling, particular to underdeveloped countries, choose a safe water source such as bottled water for both drinking and brushing your teeth and have your immunizations updated
· Do not bite your nails or pick your nose – besides been disgusting, it can transmit infectious diseases
· Zoonotic disease, or spread of infections from animals to humans is far more common than people realize. Therefore, it is important that your animals are regularly vaccinated
· Consider taking active folic acid
· Consider taking methylated vitamin B12
· Consider digestive enzymes and/or stomach acids if clinically indicated
· Take additional amounts of protein, such that you have at least 0.5 gram – 0.8 grams or as high as 1 gram per kilogram of body weight
· Supplement your diet with Proline-rich polypeptides (PRPs)
· Correct all hormonal deficiencies that might exist as long as their correction does not increase your risk of other diseases. Hormonal deficiencies that may be associated with lower levels of immunity and therefore increased risk of disease may include low DHEA and testosterone.
· Consider supplementing your diet with plan sources of the variety of potentially immune-modulating herbs, including but not limited to Echinacea, Astragalus, golden seal and ginseng
· Consider a supplement of foods containing green tea extract and/or a concentrated form of green tea extract with reliable doses of an active immuno-modulating compound contained within it, known as capitals EGCG
· Milk thistle containing a variety of compounds studied for their liver protective effects and immune-modulation should be considered
· N-acetyl cysteine has been demonstrated in studies to modify immune function
· Reduced glutathione is an immuno-modulating tripeptide
· The proper form of lactobacillus and other probiotics may improve the rate of survival in those infected with influenza virus and also favorably modify overall immune response
The information in this post is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered an alternative for sound medical or health advice. Consult with your doctor if you should suspect that you may have contracted a viral infection such as ebola. The nutritional and other information provided herein has not been evaluated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This information may change without notice.
Dr. Michael Wald can be contacted at: 914-242-8844 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org