Thursday, October 02, 2014

Rubber Gloves and Ebola

The Atlantic has a an article today about subject that I first wrote about back in August – that polymers, and rubber gloves in particular, play a critical role in the fight against Ebola.

The virus itself is thankfully not all that contagious. It is not spread via the air, but rather by direct contact with bodily fluids. A simple rubber glove, just a couple of mils thick, is more than enough protection, and yet sadly, the article notes that such a simple item is missing in many health care situations in West Africa.

"Malaysia, the world's leading manufacturer of rubber gloves, sent 20 million pairs last month to the five affected countries. Direct Relief said that between Malaysia's gloves and the organization's own donation of 2.8 million pairs, there will be enough gloves to last for 130 to 260 more days. But that doesn't account for 'correct glove sizes, breakage, distribution considerations, or exponential growth of the disease. Nor does it include burial teams, disinfection teams, ambulance transport teams, and investigation teams. It also doesn’t consider the preexisting need.' "

This outbreak of the disease will be ended in the same manner as previous outbreaks – via public health measures, not through vaccines. Rubbers, plastics and other polymeric materials will be a large part of those measures. (And most of it will be that dreaded “single-use plastic”, I might add.)

Previous Years

October 2, 2013 - Responding to Crackpots

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