The Ebola disease in West Africa Miscellanous

Who would have even remotely imagined that a sickness which began as a handful of cases in Guinea could today be a West-African epidemic. The virus has killed 961 people from the start of the outbreak. Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are countries battling this virus.

The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which refers to a group of viruses that affects multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding. It is one of the world’s most deadly diseases that can kill up to 90% of the people infected by it. And there is no vaccination against it. The existing medicines that fight viruses (antivirals) do not work well against Ebola virus.

Ebola can only be confirmed by five different laboratory tests. Vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function and sometimes internal and external bleeding are its progressive symptoms, while fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat are its early symptoms.

Ebola spreads through contact with organs and bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, urine and other secretions of infected people. The most common treatment includes supporting organ functions and maintaining bodily fluids such as blood and water long enough for the body to fight off the infection.

The prevention of Ebola HF presents many challenges because there are very few established primary prevention measures. There is increased risk of transmission within health care settings. Therefore, health care workers must be ready to employ isolation precautions or barrier nursing techniques: wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns); and the use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilisation and routine use of disinfectant).

This being the deadliest breakout ever, MWH offers its concern to the countries affected by it. Here are a few FAQs that will give you a wider understanding on Ebola and its transmission.

Can Ebola be transmitted through the air or contaminated food or water?
No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, nor is it a food/water-borne illness. So, it is not transmitted through the air or contaminated food or water.

Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t show any symptom?
No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. For the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing the symptom.

Can plane passengers get infected?
The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with the blood, secretions, or other body fluids of ill people. Even if a person infected with Ebola in West Africa would get on a plane and arrive in another country, the chances of the virus spreading during the journey is low. This is not an airborne transmission. There needs to be direct contact with body fluids or blood for the virus to spread. Nevertheless, travelers should take precautions by avoiding areas experiencing outbreaks and contact with Ebola patients.