Emergency: Mass Casualty: Ebola
Anna Easter PhD, ACNP-CS

AJN, American Journal of Nursing
December 2002 
Volume 102  Number 12
Pages 49 - 52
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  • An Ounce of Prevention

  • Understanding biosafety containment levels.

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  • Known now only as Yu. G., he is remembered as a “quiet, unremarkable man,” yet the circumstances of his death in 1976 were anything but unremarkable. Once a storekeeper in a Sudanese cotton factory, he died in his family’s compound, the first casualty in an epidemic that swept through southern Sudan in 1976, ultimately claiming nearly 300 lives. 1,2 Since then, scientists have yet to determine where the Ebola virus resides. And it’s a frightening candidate for use in biological warfare because of its stability in aerosolized form, its high case-fatality rate (possibly resulting from nosocomial transmission), and the lack of immunologic and pharmacologic therapy. 3,4 Twenty-six years after Yu. G.’s death, much more is known about this viral predator; it’s information that’s crucial to preparing health care professionals in the event of a U.S. outbreak.


    The Ebola virus is one of the Filoviridae family of viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs); the other, less lethal virus in the family is Marburg. (Three additional classes of VHFs exist: Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, and Flaviviridae. ) Named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), where the first outbreak occurred in 1976, the virus has four subtypes, each named after the geographic location of the first associated outbreak: Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, Ebola Ivory Coast, and Ebola Reston. Ebola Reston, which was identified in a 1989 outbreak in ...

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