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Disposable wearable could be used to monitor Ebola patients

You know what's immune to Ebola? That’s right, wearable computers.

Trojans? Serious business. Malware, spyware, viruses? Dangerous stuff. Ebola? No problem.

Wearable sensors that stick to the skin might be fun and useful for the casual runner, but they can also be used to help patients suffering from serious and life threatening illnesses, like Ebola.

The US Agency for International Development has awarded funding for a plaster-like, Bluetooth connected wearable device which measures a patient’s vital signs and transfers them wirelessly to the doctor.

The sensor is disposable (for obvious reasons), and can measure the body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation level of patients.

The data can be transmitted via Bluetooth to a nearby device such as a tablet or a smartphone, thus basically eliminating the risk for doctors to catch the deadly disease themselves.

The wearable has been developed by Dr. Steven Steinhubl at the Scripps Translational Science Institute and is listed as one of a number of "wearable technologies" in development.

"The new approach will provide unprecedented visibility into a patient's physiology that we believe will be invaluable in improving care and minimising risk of exposure during an Ebola virus outbreak," Dr. Steinhubl, said in a statement. "This will open the door to being able to identify warning signs very early on, when potentially lifesaving care can be provided."

By October 2014, about 400 health care staff had contracted Ebola, and more than 230 died, Forbes writes (opens in new tab), and the deadly disease has reportedly killed a total of 9,380 people (opens in new tab) since it was first spotted in 2013.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.