Ebola in sneezes? No. Yes. No. Yes.

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Originally postedNov 1, 2014; 10:00 pm

The CDC has made a second extremely important and bizarre reversal regarding public health information on its website this year. The first was about the health risks of microwave radiation from cell phones and a new one is all about how the Ebola virus can spread.

Months ago, they had language urging individuals to exercise caution when using a cell phone due to the radiation they emit. Then they reversed themselves and said ‘we don’t urge caution at all when using a cell phone.’ Hear my interview with a CDC official about this.

Earlier this week, the CDC uploaded a poster (thank you! Wayback Machine) which says: CDC ebola droplet poster1

“Ebola is spread through droplets.” 

It then talks about “droplet spread,” which is that gross spray that inconsiderate people create when they sneeze or cough without covering their nose and mouth. Next, “Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person…” To me this means that Ebola can be spread through sneezing and coughing.

Right?

Ha ha, WRONG! Today, after realizing (again) that people pay attention to what they put up on their website, the CDC removed the first Ebola poster and replaced it with this one.

CDC ebola droplet poster2So what’s new in this version? Miraculously, now “There is no evidence that Ebola is spread by coughing or sneezing.” Huh?!

The new poster continues that “Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola.” Among these potentially infectious ‘body fluids’ are “large droplets (splashes or sprays) of respiratory or other secretions.”

Yesterday, the World Health Organization updated its guidelines on “personal protective equipment” (PPE) for health care workers dealing with Ebola patients. “Experts agreed that it was most important to have PPE that protects the mucosae – mouth, nose and eyes – from contaminated droplets and fluids.” The WHO doesn’t mention where these droplets come from, but I’ll guess that, at least in part, they’re concerned about sneezes and coughs.

Meanwhile, a new analysis regarding the spread of Ebola in the US, predicts that it is “quite possible” that there will be several cases in every major city by the end of the year.

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