The countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have reported the most infections, with additional cases in Nigeria, Senegal, one in Spain, and four in the United States. To date, the current outbreak includes 9,936 cases of Ebola as of October 19, 2014, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
1. What is Ebola?
The Ebola virus is the cause of a viral fever disease. This is a severe, often fatal disease in humans in countries with limited health care. Ebola is caused by infection. Symptoms usually begin abruptly.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first Ebola virus species was discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically.
2. How does it spread?
You can’t get Ebola through the air. You can’t get Ebola through water. You can’t get Ebola through food. You can only get Ebola through touching bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola or from exposure to contaminated objects such as needles. Ebola spreads more like HIV (blood, body fluids), than flu (respiratory).
3. What are the symptoms?
· Fever of 101.5 or higher
· Joint/muscle aches
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola though 8-10 days is most common.
4. How do I protect myself?
· Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
· Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
· Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
· Do not touch bats and non-human primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
· Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5°F/ 38.6°C) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
· Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.
5. Can Ebola Be Prevented?
Yes, killing the virus is easy. The Ebola virus can be killed with soap and water, heat, or a disinfectant or sanitizing agent.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good precaution. This is perhaps the most important message for children to learn and share.
There’s no vaccine to prevent Ebola. The best way to avoid catching the disease is by not travelling to areas where the virus is found.
Health care workers can prevent infection by wearing masks, gloves, and goggles whenever they come into contact with people who may have Ebola.
6. Stay educated.
Instead of letting the attention Ebola is getting create fear and panic, arm yourself with the facts!