As Nigeria confirms it’s 10th case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), fears and public health concerns continue to grow.
So far the virus which has claimed more than 900 lives across Sierra Leone, Congo, Liberia and Nigeria, is proving difficult to control. With no known cure and a mortality rate between 50%- 90%, medical experts have declared the virus deadlier than HIV/AIDS at present. Essentially, what the World Health Organisation are facing, is a virus not only with an almost automatic death sentence but one which is spreading at an alarming rate. As of 8th August 2014, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared the outbreak of Ebola, ‘a national emergency,’ and approved more than $11 million (£6.5m) to help contain it.
In our effort to help spread awareness with correct facts, here are the ‘Need to know’s‘ about the disease with information from the World Health Organisation, as well as guidelines on preventing the disease from spreading:
What is Ebola?
- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. It causes its victims to essentially bleed to death.
- Fruit bats (yes bats!) of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
- EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate between 60-90%, which means at least 60% of infected people will die from it.
How does it Spread?
- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals such as fruit bats, and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. This is through contact with bodily fluids such as blood, secretions, saliva, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids such as Burial ceremonies.
- EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
What are symptoms and signs to watch out for in an infected person?
The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.
- EVD begins as a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.
- This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding
- Infected persons remain a public health danger as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus.
How do I prevent the disease from occurring?
- Be sure to wash your hands with soapy water at regular intervals.
- Keep a clean environment (fumigate and tidy up your environment or home)
- Do Not handle dead bush meat which can also be used in making Suya. Try to eat foods that have been prepared by yourself.
- Report any suspicious symptoms in yourself, or tell anyone else immediately when you notice them. This is to help ensure others are protected, and a maximum chance of survival from the virus.
- Protect yourself by wearing protective gear if you must, and if you are in an environment where someone has died from the disease.
- Educate others about the disease too.
Busting those Ebola Myths!
The Ebola Virus is NOT airborne
John G Lake died before the Ebola virus outbreak so no, he did NOT cure it.
Salt and Water, and Bitter Kola do NOT cure viruses
Note: Be sure to do your part by helping pass on the correct information about the virus to friends, relatives, and families especially of those living in all parts of Africa.
Thanks for reading!