CDC Holds Twitter Chat to Discuss Ebola Crisis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a Twitter chat Oct. 2, using the hashtag #CDCchat, to answer questions about Ebola.

In an effort to dispel rumors and teach the general public more about Ebola, the CDC held a Twitter chat on Oct. 2 to answer people's questions about the disease. The questions were focused mostly on how the disease is spread, what the symptoms are, and the origin of the disease.

The CDC had a number of experts and its director, Dr. Tom Frieden, on hand to answer questions. All of them used separate Twitter accounts that are operated by the CDC: CDC travel, CDC emergency, and CDC government were a few of the accounts used during the chat.

Some of the most common questions were related to the spread and prevention of Ebola. The disease can only be spread through contact with bodily fluids. The CDC defined bodily fluids as vomit, feces, saliva, sweat, vaginal fluid, semen, and breast milk. Any of these substances could carry the virus, and if someone with Ebola were to sneeze on someone and the saliva/mucus made contact with the person's eyes, nose, or mouth, the disease could spread.

The CDC also continued to reiterate the fact that a patient is contagious only when he has symptoms, attempting to quell any worry about the potential spread of the disease when patient zero traveled on multiple flights. The patient did not show any signs of illness until after traveling, therefore eliminating the potential for the disease to spread on the flights.

The agency also used it as an opportunity to distribute digital documents, such as a checklist for patients being evaluated for Ebola in the United States and an Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) ‘Algorithm’.

Household items such as alcohol-based hand sanitizer and household bleach are capable of effectively cleaning areas that have been exposed to Ebola, per multiple responses to Tweets from the CDC. This doesn't apply to patients who have already made contact with infected bodily fluids.

The CDC also identified the Ebola strain in Dallas as the Zaire virus, the same one that is causing the epidemic in West Africa. The CDC will continue to monitor the case for 42 days after a case is closed to ensure no new incidents have occurred.

Ebola was a trending topic during the hour-long chat, meaning it was one of the top ten most-discussed items on Twitter throughout the nation.

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