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Containing Viral Outbreaks

The outbreak and exponential spread of Ebola throughout West Africa has captured the attention and growing concern of millions around the world. Now, with the first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States, residents of North America are facing a pandemic threat close to home.

Simultaneously, a little-known disease, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), is infecting victims throughout the Midwest, with children among the most susceptible to the virus. Though less devastating than Ebola, EV-D68 is the suspected culprit behind recent increases in children admitted to Intensive Care Units with respiratory illness.

Currently, vaccines are not available for Ebola or EV-D68. Prevention is the best defense. Those in danger of infection can limit exposure and decrease risk through knowledge, awareness, and preventive precautions.

Know the Signs

Learning to discern the signs, symptoms, and effects of each virus can help you keep your family safe.


An incurable virus, Ebola often appears in a sudden onset of influenza-like symptoms: fatigue, fever, headaches, and joint, muscle, and abdominal pain. Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite commonly follow. As the liver and kidneys begin to lose function, victims may experience internal and external bleeding. Treatment of the disease is supportive in nature, designed to rehydrate and, in some cases, transfer blood to the victim.

Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)

Enterovirus D68 is a respiratory illness that mainly affects children. Minor symptoms include coughing, runny nose, sore throat, and fever. EV-D68 can also lead to more serious conditions such as pneumonia, dehydration, and, eventually, respiratory failure. Victims afflicted by asthma are often affected more severely by the virus. Because EV-D68 is passed through respiratory secretions like saliva or mucus, the infection spreads when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or touch others or surfaces used by others. Like Ebola, EV-D68 has no available cure, but most patients recover with hydration as the illness runs its course.

Be Aware

Limiting the spread of a disease requires vigilance and decisive action. Use the following information to guide you in identifying and responding to potential danger.

Detecting Ebola
While encountering an individual who has been exposed to the Ebola virus is unlikely, beware of any individual meeting BOTH of the following criteria:

  1. Displays symptoms including fever, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle or joint aches, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, or bleeding.

  2. Has traveled to West Africa within three weeks of showing symptoms, or has had direct contact with an individual recently returned from West Africa.

Should you encounter a sick person who meets both criteria, immediately report him or her to local and state authorities. Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to report a suspected case on a 24/7 basis at 770-488-7100.

Identifying Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)

Most common among children, enterovirus D68 can spread throughout schools, daycares, and churches. Initial symptoms like coughing and fever can resemble those of a common cold, but more serious effects like dehydration and pneumonia can lead to respiratory failure as the disease progresses. Pay special attention to the students at your child's school or care center, and check in with teachers and administrators each day for updates on sick classmates. If your child develops symptoms, take him or her to be checked by a doctor.

Take Precautions

Though vastly different diseases, Ebola and enterovirus D68 can be contained through similar measures.

If an outbreak of Ebola, enterovirus D68, or another viral disease is announced in your area, take the following precautions to prevent illness from spreading:

  • Wash hands often with antibacterial soap and warm water.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not touch, hug, kiss, or share utensils with individuals known to be infected. Avoid sharing unwashed clothes, sheets, or blankets with sick individuals, as these can transfer body fluids.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands.
  • Use a tissue or glove to grab door handles and faucets in public places.
  • Choose to walk, ride, or drive rather than using crowded public transit systems, and avoid crowded malls, concerts, or other clusters of potentially contagious people for the duration of the outbreak warning.
  • Disinfect doorknobs, drawers, faucets, and other frequently touched surfaces constantly.
  • Monitor news outlets for updates on the disease's spread. Follow a reputable security service provider on social media to receive continuous safety tips related to the outbreak.
  • Stay in your house if you begin displaying any signs of illness. If symptoms persist, go to the hospital immediately.
  • Never make bodily contact with someone you suspect is infected. Leave the care, transport, and handling of potentially infected patients to medical professionals outfitted with fluid resistant protective gear.
  • Stay calm and mindful. In confusion or panic, people are more likely to spread disease than to impede it.


About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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