The international aid group Doctors Without Borders, also known by the French acronym MSF, said Ebola remains at a crisis level in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. To help prevent the virus from spreading, the group has been distributing protective kits to families in Liberia.
Jose Mas, MSF's emergency coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the kits can help prevent caregivers and family members from contracting the virus from an infected person in the household.
"The idea is to put in place all of these precautions so they are able to live their lives without being at risk, or minimizing the maximum possible risk," Mas explained.
The protective kits – containing items such as chlorine, masks, goggles and gloves – are being distributed to an estimated 350,000 Liberian households.
Families must be trained how to use them. .
“The idea [is] for them to use chlorine to disinfect all possible objects touched by the possible patient or suspect case, and to [teach them how to] put on … items like the mask, the goggles or the gloves" to reduce the risk of spreading the infection, Mas said.
Kits also contain two buckets, soap, gowns, plastic bags and a spray bottle.
Distributing the kits "is not a perfect solution," Mas emphasized. "... It’s just to gain some time in order to allow the hospitals to host as many as patients or suspect cases as possible.”
Chlorine can be used to clean floors and other surfaces that may have vomit, diarrhea or other bodily fluids from the infected person.
"The idea for the mask and bucket, and the rest of the items, it is that if they are disinfected with chlorine [and other cleaning solutions], then they could be reused for a few days," Mas said.
A chlorine solution can be used to disinfect clothes. Infected items can also be washed with soap and water and dried in the sun, he added.
In disposing of contaminated objects Mas said, it is best to follow instructions from health workers who are distributing the kits.