What is Ebola?
Ebola, officially known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe disease caused by the Ebola virus that was first recognized in Africa in 1976.
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms can include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, In some cases, the disease causes rashes, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding.
Is it deadly?
Yes, Up to 90 percent of people who are infected with Ebola die from it,
How is it transmitted?
1. Humans are not the natural hosts of the Ebola virus, and it’s believed that the first person in any outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal.
2. Animals that are reported to have spread disease to humans include chimpanzees, gorillas, forest antelopes and cynomolgus monkeys, according to the World Health Organization. Once one person has become infected, the disease can spread from person to person through contact with the blood, saliva, mucus or other secretions.
3. In the countries where Ebola has occurred, the disease is frequently spread in health care settings to workers who have had contact with patients and do not wear protective clothing or masks, Re-use of contaminated needles can also spread the disease.
Is there a cure?
No. Patients with Ebola are treated with supportive therapy, which includes balancing their fluids, maintaining their oxygen levels and blood pressure, and treating them for any complicating infections.
How to prevent?
- 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.