What is Ebola?
Ebola is a filovirus named after a river in Zaire, its first site of discovery. This filovirus is usually fatal, and it affects monkeys, apes and humans. Filoviruses are string-shaped, with a little hook or loop at one end. The Ebola virus is among the most lethal diseases known to man. There is no vaccine, no cure, and it kills 90% of infected patients. The epidemic is thought to have begun in Guinea in March, before spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
How Do You Get Ebola?
Ebola isn’t as contagious as more common viruses like colds, influenza, or measles. It spreads to people by contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal, like a monkey, chimp, or fruit bat. Then it moves from person to person the same way. Those who care for a sick person or bury someone who has died from the disease often get it.
Other ways to get Ebola include touching contaminated needles or surfaces.
You can’t get Ebola from air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either.
What Are the Symptoms of Ebola?
Early on, Ebola can feel like the flu or other illnesses. Symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after infection and usually include:
• High fever
• Joint and muscle aches
• Sore throat
• Stomach pain
• Lack of appetite
As the disease gets worse, it causes bleeding inside the body, as well as from the eyes, ears, and nose. Some people will vomit or cough up blood, have bloody diarrhea, and get a rash.
How to Prevent Ebola
Prevention focuses on avoiding contact with the viruses. The following precautions can help prevent infection and spread of Ebola.
• Avoid areas of known outbreaks. Before traveling to Africa, find out about current epidemics by checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
• Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.
• Avoid bush meat. In developing countries, avoid buying or eating the wild animals, including nonhuman primates, sold in local markets.
• Avoid contact with infected people. In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person’s body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. People with Ebola or Marburg are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.
• Follow infection-control procedures. If you’re a health care worker, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Dispose of needles and sterilize other instruments.
• Don’t handle remains. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola or Marburg disease are still contagious. Specially organized and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.
How Is Ebola Diagnosed?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a person has Ebola from the symptoms alone. Doctors may test to rule out other diseases like cholera or malaria.
Tests of blood and tissues also can diagnose Ebola. If you have Ebola, you’ll be isolated from the public immediately to prevent the spread.
Myths about Cure
• Bitter Kola does not cure Ebola virus
• Drinking salt water or bathing salt water does not cure Ebola virus
What drugs exist to combat the drug?
Two American missionary workers infected with Ebola were given an experimental drug called ZMapp which seems to have saved their lives. The drug, developed by a San Diego firm, had never been tried before on humans, but it showed promise in small experiments on monkeys.
But rolling out an untested drug during a massive outbreak would also be very difficult, according to MSF. Experimental drugs are typically not mass-produced, and tracking the success of such a drug if used would require extra medical staff where resources are already scarce. ZMapp’s maker says it has very few doses ready for patient use.
Help prevent the spread of Ebola! Report any suspected case to 0803787901/08037154575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Federal Ministry of Health)