The outbreak of the disease began in March with few identified cases in Guinea. Since then the number had risen to 909 confirmed cases and 414 probable and additional suspected cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
Current efforts to limit the virus within distressed areas and to find a way for timely identification.
The problem is that the patients need between 2 and 21 days prior to first show symptoms of Ebola, because the authorities can not prevent the transfer of potential carriers of the virus from one country to another.
The West fears that because the spread of this virus can be caused by a single patient who flies from some of the crisis countries in Africa. This is the reason why two Nigerian airlines in late July canceled all flights from Monrovia and Freetown (the capital of Liberia and Sierra Leone).
Mitigating circumstance is that, according to the Center for Disease Control, the virus can not be spread on a plane, unless passengers come in contact with body fluids from an infected person.
Why so much fear of Ebola?
- According to Doctors, this is “one of the deadliest diseases in the world.” Mortality is around 90% (this time it decreased to 55% thanks to the timely detection).
- There are five types of Ebola, with Zaire ebola virus being the deadliest.
- The current epidemic is precisely of this kind.
What is Ebola, and what are the symptoms?
- Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever, which according to CDC, comprises a group of viruses that attack multiple organs and systems in the body and is often accompanied by bleeding.
- Named after the Ebola River in the DR Congo (former Zaire), where the disease was first registered in 1976.
- The first symptoms are fever, malaise, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. These symptoms may appear from 2 to 21 days after infection.
- These same symptoms can be misinterpreted as symptoms of malaria, meningitis and plague.
- Rash appears on the skin and in the eyes, chest pain, trouble breathing and swallowing, hiccups.
- Then these symptoms evolve in vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and liver, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.
- The disease can only be confirmed by laboratory tests.
- There is no specific treatment for the disease, but patients are isolated and kept alive by doctors.
- They need to maintain the liquid level in the patient, to check the status of oxygen and blood pressure, and therapy against the complicating infection.
- The patients are advised to wear impermeable gloves and gown, and wearing facial protection, in the form of goggles and a mask on his mouth and nose.
How does it spread?
- The assumption is that bats are the natural carriers of Ebola virus in Africa, and that they transmit it to other animals.
- Humans are infected through contact with body fluids from infected animals or people.
- Although the virus can survive only a few days in liquid outside the infected organism, it can be killed by heat, direct exposure to sun, chlorine, soap and detergents.
- Usually spreads in areas where hospitals do not care enough to prevent infections and in areas with limited access to clean water.
What can you do to prevent the spread?
- Isolation of all patients with Ebola. Persons who come into contact with the sick should regularly monitor their temperature.
- Closing the borders to neighboring countries (as it did Liberia), and the introduction of points for testing of the few places where you can get out of the country.
- Special attention to all those that recently traveled to West Africa.