Several countries in West Africa have fallen victim to the largest Ebola outbreak in history that has claimed over 930 lives. While this outbreak has a mortality rate of 60% compared to the previously reported 90%, it is spreading fast and surrounding countries are working frantically to quarantine the deadly virus. If you’ve never heard of Ebola before, read up on what makes this virus so dangerous and feared.
Ebola 101: What is Ebola?
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) was first discovered in 1976 when two outbreaks occurred simultaneously in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virus is transmitted from wild animals such as fruit bats, gorillas, and monkeys to humans who then spread the virus through direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions (e.g., blood, urine, sweat, saliva, etc.).
Ebola 101: What are the Symptoms of Ebola?
The initial symptoms of EVD include fever, weakness, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can appear between 2-21 days of coming in contact with the virus, which prompts healthcare workers to recommend that one should stay on fever watch especially if one has visited infected regions. Later symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and internal bleeding that may lead to death.
Ebola 101: How Fatal is Ebola?
In the most recent outbreak, there have been over 1,000 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases mainly in three countries (i.e., Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone). More than 100 healthcare workers who have been trying to contain and treat the virus have succumbed to the symptoms and 50% of them have died. One of Liberia’s leading doctors fighting against Ebola, Sheikh Umar Khan, perished on July 29th, 2014 after he himself came in contact with the disease.
Ebola 101: What are the Treatment Options of Ebola?
Currently, there are no treatments or vaccines available for clinical use, which makes prevention and containment even more critical. Primary defenses against the Ebola virus include immediate quarantine (as was the recent incident of an Ebola death in an Nigerian hospital), early treatment, effective hygiene, and protective equipment such as masks and sanitary suits.
Ebola 101: How to Prevent Ebola?
Education of the disease is another preventative measure African officials must enact to protect its population. In fact, many of the Ebola cases could have been prevented if people knew that they could contract the virus by having intimate contact with bodies being prepared for burials. For the time being, health and government officials must do their best to contain Ebola before an approved treatment and vaccine is developed to combat the virus.
Check out Real Life Zombie Viruses
Additional information on ebola from waka-waka.com: