In response to the recent confirmation of a case of ebola in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking at ways to help prevent the virus from spreading, and to keep more cases from entering the country.
According to CNN, the CDC is considering increased screening for people coming into the U.S. as a way to help prevent more Americans from contracting the often deadly illness.
Efforts have already been made to prevent the confirmed case in America from spreading. In addition to quarantining the people who had contact with Thomas Duncan, cleaning crews have decontaminated the Dallas, TX apartment where he was staying when he was diagnosed with ebola, down to stripping the curtains and the carpeting.
According to the CDC, the ebola case was confirmed on September 30th as the first travel-associated diagnosis of the virus. Duncan traveled from West Africa, where he was symptom-free, to Dallas, TX, where he began suffering from symptoms about five days later.
According to Dr. Alexander Garza of the St. Louis University College of Public Health, ebola is not exactly “easy” to transfer; however, viruses can still live on surfaces, like bedding, clothes, upholstery and carpets. For example, the Norovirus, also known as the Norwalk virus, can live in an uncleaned carpet for up to a month, so stripping the carpet may be a necessary precaution in efforts to contain the ebola virus, as the virus has a very high fatality rate — about half of people who contract it die.
Carpets can also host a number of other allergens and other substances that can cause adverse health effects. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, carpets can be home to indoor pollutants and allergens. Additionally, carpets have the potential to house mold as well, especially in areas that experience high humidity.
“Carpet cleaning is a very effective way to remove dust and allergy buildup in order to promote a safe, clean living environment,” says Joshua Johnson, owner of Johnson Floor Care. “A carpet is like a giant filter, but its capturing a lot more dirt. Those who use a household vacuum regularly will be surprised to know that 30% of dirt still remains in the carpet, and the best way to remove this is through steam extraction via professional carpet cleaning.”