The best-known warning about staying healthy in an Ebola outbreak is to stay away from any source of water that has a high chlorine content, including toilets, sinks, shower heads and other sources of chlorine.
The World Health Organization recommends that you use the same amount of water for both your home and washing machine, even if that water has a higher chlorine content.
But there’s no evidence that the water has any effect on the disease, and some experts say it may actually increase it.
In a new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, a group of international researchers from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia analyzed data from over 700,000 cases in the United Nations’ World Health Assembly for four different types of chlorine-containing water sources and found that the more chlorinated a source, the higher the chance that a person would contract the virus.
That means chlorine is an effective way to keep people out of water sources that are not safe to drink.
“The water source is the first thing that people think of, and then they say, ‘I don’t want to drink this,’ ” said study author, Dr. Susan McElroy, who is a senior researcher at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the study.
But the researchers say there’s more to this story than the water itself.
“We have this very basic question: What does it look like to be able to keep a person’s body healthy?” said Dr. Andrew Polakoff, a professor at Johns Hopkins University who was a co-author of the study but did not participate in the research.
Polakoffs study showed that people who drank more chlorinating water over a longer period of time, including those who drank tap water, had a higher likelihood of contracting Ebola, which is why the researchers recommend chlorine-water bottles as a last resort.
The findings also suggest that people with respiratory infections like COPD and COPD-related pneumonia might benefit from using chlorine-infused water.
For example, people who were diagnosed with pneumonia after drinking more than a third of their total water intake and drank the most water for the shortest period of the day, like those with COPD, had the highest risk of getting Ebola, while people with COPDs and COPDs-related respiratory infections had the lowest risk.
In addition, the researchers found that those who used the most chlorinated water had a significantly lower risk of contracting EVD, which means the amount of chlorine used to purify water may be more effective than drinking bottled water.
“There’s no reason to be afraid of using chlorine in the water supply because there are so many other ways to protect against EVD,” said McElroys co-researcher, Dr., Margo A. Dickey, professor of epidemiology at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the University at Buffalo.
“It’s not just for the sake of being more chlorinate-friendly.
It’s also to protect your lungs from the virus, to protect yourself from the effects of the virus and to prevent the virus from coming into contact with your immune system.”
So while the study doesn’t directly link chlorine to EVD and is focused on water-related illnesses, McElriys research suggests that chlorine could be a useful alternative for preventing infection from water sources.
“I think it’s very important that we continue to research these types of options because they can provide great protection,” said Polakos co-investigator, Dr, Drajeet D. Verma, a researcher at Johns Jacobs University and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
“Even if you don’t drink chlorine, you can still be protected against the virus.”
The researchers also looked at the effectiveness of chlorine for treating the effects that the virus can have on the immune system, such as how it affects the immune cells that help the body fight off infection.
The researchers found no significant difference in the effectiveness in controlling EVD between people who used chlorine-based water or water that had been filtered with chlorinated bleach.
“These are all very simple findings that we can all agree are important,” said Dr, Andrew Poliakoff, who said that he’s optimistic that chlorinating the water in the next few days would have a big impact on the virus’s survival rate.
The study was funded by the U