The Ebola outbreak has many people living in fear, but there’s a lot that you need to know about this virus. You are more likely to catch the regular flu, a cold, or even be hit by a bus than you are catching Ebola. Here are some Ebola facts.
The Main Outbreak is Usually in Africa
Outbreaks tend to occur in Africa. It’s important to note that in Africa they don’t have the health care facilities that they do in the West, so the virus can spread easily and infect a wide range of people without anything to slow it down. Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, And Senegal are some of the countries that have had the most cases in the past as well as other countries. North American health facilities are more than capable of limiting the spread of this virus should a large outbreak ever occur.
A Major North America Outbreak is Extremely Remote
There’s as a lot of paranoia about Ebola in North America, but a major outbreak is simply not going to happen due to the heath protocols we have in our hospitals. You also have to come in direct contact with an infected person for Ebola to spread. In Africa, there are limited health protocols so the virus has spread rapidly. More people die of regular flu each year that have been infected with Ebola. In terms of health dangers to Westerners, it’s not as scary as it may seem.
Body Fluids Pass Ebola
Sneezing or coughing doesn’t spread Ebola. You need to come in contact with infected fluids from the body of a person that has the infection. The virus lives on surfaces that have blood or other bodily fluids on them from the patient that has Ebola. Hospitals are able to sterilize these surfaces so the infection can’t spread. If a person with Ebola coughs, you will not get Ebola from that cough. Ebola doesn’t spread like the regular flu or like a cold. It’s very hard to actually catch Ebola. It spreads in Africa because there’s no control over the virus because health care facilities are extremely limited and poor at best.
Ebola Acts like Other Viruses Early On
Early Ebola will act like a cold or flu, with coughing sneezing, fever, vomiting and other basic symptoms. This makes it hard to diagnose Ebola early on, which is a big part of some of the paranoia over Ebola. It can take 2–12 days for Ebola to incubate in the body and become full-blown Ebola. In about 8–9 days the patient will get the most severe Ebola symptoms. There tests that doctors use to confirm that a person actually has Ebola.
Ebola Patients Bleed
Ebola is a hemorrhagic virus so patients will bleed from their body in the later stages of Ebola. It’s these bodily fluids which transmit the virus to other people. There’s both internal as well as external bleeding. The patient may vomit blood or have bloody diarrhea. In the later stages, there is cardiovascular distress and failure which leads to death. In poor health care facilities, this leads to exposure for those that are trying to treat a patient with limited medical equipment or even training in dealing with pathogens.
Ebola is Deadly
Ebola is a very deadly disease and many people that get Ebola will die, but some do survive the disease. There are new drugs being developed that show promise which may increase the survivability door someone that has Ebola. These drugs are desperately needed in Africa to control the spread of Ebola. There’s more study that needs to be done on these drugs before they will become available.
Take Normal Precautions against Ebola
While Ebola is a deadly disease, you should take normal precautions such as washing your hands a few times per day and looking after your own personal health. The fear over Ebola is not needed. You should stay away from infected countries and if you have concerns, talk to your local health authorities.
If You have Been in Ebola Infected Areas
You will probably be screened once you get home or in the Infected area before you get on a plane. You should closely monitor your health once you get home for 21 days to see if you have any Ebola symptoms. If you feel sick, go to the hospital to be checked out. A high fever or any sort of episodes with bleeding could be an indication that you have Ebola. You should call the hospital or doctor’s office in advance before you go so they can set up protocols if needed to treat you or check you out for any signs of Ebola.
Follow any Travel Warnings
It’s a good idea to avoid traveling to areas where the infection is severe. You should check with your airline or local government office to find out more about travel warnings. When Ebola breaks out, more screening takes place to control the spread of the virus. Many major U.S. carriers now have screening for Ebola. If you are sick with any sort of flu or other illness, it’s advisable to stay at home in any case.
Ebola is a terrible disease but tends to burn itself out after major outbreaks. Risks in developed nations are marginal although cases can and do occur from time to time. Take care when traveling when major outbreaks occur to ensure your own safety.