In the month of July alone, so many things have gone wrong that one is more than tempted to connect these events to the ‘End Times’ as predicted by John in the Bible book of Revelations.
Two plane crashes, terrorism in Gaza, more Boko Haram kidnappings and manslaughter…and now an apparent Ebola outbreak.
Amidst everything going on, the best way to stay safe is to be know what this dreaded disease is.
What Is Ebola?
-Ebola viral disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a highly infectious illness with fatality rates up to 90 percent according to the U.N. World Health Organization.
-It first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks – in Nzara, Sudan; and in Yambuku, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
-Reports of human infections usually first emerge in remote areas that are in proximity to tropical rain forests, where humans can come into contact with animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope.
-The consumption of bush meat is often a precursor to such outbreaks.
-The WHO says fruit bats are probably the natural host for the virus.
How Do You Get Ebola?
-The virus is known to live in fruit bats, and normally affects people living in or near tropical rainforests.
-It is introduced into the human population through close contact with the sweat, blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
-The virus spreads through contact with bodily fluids of someone who is infected.
-The virus then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
-The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the disease is not contagious until a person begins to show symptoms.
-A big problem in West Africa is that burial ceremonies, in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person, can increase the spread of the disease because a person can transmit the virus even after death.
-Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovery from illness.
Symptoms of Ebola
-Symptoms begin with fever, muscle pain and a sore throat, then rapidly escalate to vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
-The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is from two to 21 days.
-Health workers are at serious risk of contracting the disease – two American doctors have already contracted it, and a Liberian medic has died. Sierra Leone announced on July 23 Sheik Umar Khan, the doctor leading the fight against Ebola in the country, had himself contracted the disease following the deaths of several nurses at the treatment centre where he works.
-Early treatment improves a patient’s chances of survival.
Treatment For Ebola
-There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola.
-Testing to confirm the virus must be done with the highest level of biohazard protection.
-Severely ill patients require intensive supportive. Patients are frequently dehydrated and require oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes or intravenous fluids.
A significant problem with the current outbreak is families lose faith in Western medicine, which cannot yet cure the patients. They then take them home to traditional village healers, which often leads the disease to spread.
How Bad Is The Most Recent Outbreak?
-Bad — very, very bad. It’s concentrated in three small West African states: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where reports of Ebola infections first emerged in February.
-The outbreak has claimed more than 670 lives and, worryingly, infected medical personnel attempting to stop its spread. A prominent Liberian physician died Sunday.
-It has been described as the worst Ebola outbreak in a long time.
-What’s particularly scary, though, was the recent death of a Liberian man in Lagos, the bustling coastal mega-city in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. The man, a consultant for the Liberian government, had traveled from Liberia through an airport in Lome, the capital of Togo, before arriving in Nigeria.
What Is Being Done To Keep The Outbreak In Control?
-The hospital where the Liberian man who died in Lagos is under lockdown, and the WHO has sent teams to Togo and Nigeria.
-After investigation, it has been found out that 50 people were in contact with the Liberian man in Lagos. These people are undergoing thorough medical checks.
-On Monday, Liberia sealed off most of its border crossings (it has kept its main airport open).
-Nigeria has placed all entry points into the country on “red alert.” The threat of the virus spreading beyond the immediate region remains real, and authorities have to be vigilant. A patient may manifest symptoms of the virus only three weeks after getting infected.
-Arik Air said it took the decision to halt flights as a precautionary measure and called for all inbound flights to Nigeria from Ebola-affected countries to be suspended.
-One of the continuing challenges is getting local populations to abide by the edicts of government authorities and foreign health workers.
-The WHO has repeatedly warned about the risk posed by mourners reclaiming the bodies of the deceased for traditional burial ceremonies. But in some cases during the current outbreak, families have refused to hand over the bodies to officials; some communities have staged roadblocks to halt ambulances and launched protests outside hospitals and clinics.
On A Scale Of 1-10 How Worried Should I Be?
-Ebola has no vaccine or cure but it is NOT unstoppable. If the necessary precautions are taken the spread of the outbreak could be halted.
-Ebola is not an airborne disease as many fear. You get Ebola by being in contact with an infected person (even after the pass) or consuming infected meat.
-Do you live in an Ebola free zone? Limit travel if you are paranoid about contracting the disease until it has been culled.
-If you live in high risk or Ebola suspected zone, be sure to report ANY slight symptoms as soon as you notice them. Ebola is better resisted when treated early.
-Do not be ashamed to speak to a doctor about any health concerns whether about yourself, partner, family or friend.
Hope this information was useful.
Stay safe. Love & Light.
Courtesy of Guardian and WHO