What you need to know about Ebola
By now, you’ve probably heard about the devastating Ebola virus that has killed almost 3000 people in West Africa (as of September 2014). But what is Ebola, how does it spread and are we South African chomas at risk? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is an infectious disease that causes bleeding inside and outside the body. According to Webmd, early stages of Ebola feel like flu. As it worse, the patient will suffer from bleeding inside the body as well as they eyes, ears and nose and may experience a rash, bloody diarrhea and cough or vomit blood.
Symptoms of Ebola include:
- High fever.
- Joint and muscle aches.
- Sore throat.
- Stomach pain.
- Lack of appetite.
Where did Ebola come from?
Researchers have determined that the Ebola virus is carried by bats in the West African region. People ate the bats and while preparing the food, became infected. The most recent Ebola epidemic appears to have started in Guinea in December 2013 and spread to neighbouring countries. The first official case was reported in March 2014. How does Ebola spread? Ebola spreads through contact with skin or bodily fluid of an infected person. You can also get through contact with infected needles or surfaces. You cannot get Ebola from food, air or water and you also cannot catch it from someone who has it but has no symptoms.
Is there a cure?
There is currently no cure for Ebola but doctors and scientists around the world are working on a vaccine. According to the CDC in America (Centre for Disease Control), symptoms are treated as they appear. Seeking treatment as soon as possible will give the patient a better chance of survival.
Are South Africans at risk for Ebola?
Although Ebola is very contagious, there is no reason for South Africans to panic. Precautions have been taken to ensure that the infected travellers do not cross our borders. South African hospitals have been prepared to deal with infections if necessary.
How can you protect yourself from Ebola?
If for any reason you are in an infected area or come into contact with someone who may be infected with Ebola, it’s important that you do everything you can to prevent catching the disease. Here are ways you can prevent Ebola from spreading:
- Wash your hands often with a good sanitizer
- Avoid contact with bodily fluids like blood, sweat and saliva of someone who could be sick
- Do not touch the body of someone who had died from Ebola.
- Do not touch bats or eat raw bat meat
- Avoid hospitals or clinics where Ebola patients are being treated.
- If you develop a temperature and flu like symptoms, visit a doctor immediately.
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