A flesh eating virus that is highly infectious, progresses rapidly, and has a staggeringly high fatality rate – between 25 and 90 percent of sufferers die within two weeks of infection.
Ebola is the stuff of nightmares.
While it must be admitted that including this bug on a list of food-borne illnesses is tenuous (Ebola is primarily spread through person to person contact), most outbreaks have been linked to inadequately cooked ‘bush-meats’. Thankfully, killing the virus with heat is relatively easy: boiling for five minutes, or simmering at 60°c for 60 minutes eliminates all ebola viruses.
You don’t need to don your hazmat suit just yet though! Ebolaviruses are very limited in range. They are typically confined to sub-Saharan Africa, though cases have been reported in the USA, the UK, Hungary and Russia (almost all these cases were due to improper handling of laboratory samples of the virus – so unless you’re a lab tech from the Congo, I wouldn’t worry too much).
The WHO has released a dense manual on preventing ebola transmission, intended for WHO healthcare workers. In addition to the cooking guidelines for bush-meats, the WHO outlines procedures for sanitising preparation surfaces. Specifically, you need to use a disinfectant that can handle fats, such as alocohol based sanitizers, or bleach powders. If these aren’t available, a high concentration of certain other common disinfectants can be used.
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