Ebola is Real, God Help Salone!!
Fellow countrymen, I feel obliged to do this blog post on the recent Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone as it continues to devastate our beloved country. I feel very troubled by the propaganda and misconceptions around this outbreak. Some say it is a ploy by the government to gain money from the international community, while others say it is a way of discouraging the participation of people from the Eastern part of the country in the upcoming census. But the one I find by far disturbing is the accusation that health workers have been indulging in euthanasia (giving lethal injections to patients) at isolation centres. As a result of all these propaganda and misconceptions, some infected persons have either refused to show up for treatment or have ran out of treatment centres thereby putting others at risk of infection.
It is amidst these misconceptions that I’ve decided to do this post to tell the whole nation that Ebola is real! It is the worlds deadliest, far worse than AIDs and SARS! I therefore implore on all of you to read the following key facts and join the fight to save Mama Salone against this deadly virus.
EBOLA KEY FACTS
What is Ebola?
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), once known as “Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever”, first appeared in 1976 simultaneously in Nzara, Sudan and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
- It causes severe illness with bleeding in humans and animals
- It can kill up to 90% of infected people
- No known vaccine or treatment are available
- Once someone is infected, if proper precautions are not taken, an epidemic can spread quickly
However, with the proper precautions in place, Ebola will not spread to other people.
How does it spread?
- People are infected through direct unprotected contact with an infected person’s blood, secretions or body fluids.
- Blood, vomit, faeces, mucus, urine and any objects that are contaminated by them are all potentially infectious and should never be directly handled
- Healthcare workers and people in direct contact with sick people (such as family members) are at highest risk of infection
(Caution: The body of someone who has died from Ebola is infectious. If someone has died from suspected Ebola, their body should ONLY be handled by those who are trained to do so, wearing proper protective equipment. Do NOT participate in funeral practices that involve touching the dead body.)
- People can also be infected through direct unprotected contact with animals such as gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees. Do not eat “bush meat”
(Caution: The virus may live in bats. Bats might spread the infection to primates such as gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees.)
Signs and Symptoms
On average, Ebola virus symptoms begin about 2 to 6 days after contracting the disease. The period between contraction and the start of symptoms is called the incubation period. The Ebola incubation period is between 2 – 21 days. Symptoms typically include:
- Joint and muscle aches
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
Some patients may experience:
- A Rash
- Red Eyes
- Sore throat
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bleeding inside and outside of the body
Some examples of visible signs of infection:
There is no known licensed treatment for Ebola, hence standard treatment is still limited to supportive therapy which consists of:
- balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes
- maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure
- treating them for any complicating infections
Prevention and Control
More generally, one can avoid the risk of Ebola infection through the following precautionary measures:
- Avoiding contact with symptomatic patients and/or their bodily fluids
- Avoiding contact with corpses and/or bodily fluids from deceased patients
- Avoiding any form of close contact with wild animals (including monkeys, forest antelopes, rodents and bats), both alive and dead, and consumption of any type of ‘bush meat’
- Washing and peeling fruits and vegetables before consumption
- Strictly practicing ‘safe sex’
- Strictly following hand-washing routines
Healthcare workers can use the following barrier nursing techniques:
- Wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
- The use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
- Isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.
Map of current Ebola Outbreak
(Last updated on June 20, 2014. Go to source)
Sources:WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/ CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/11/health/ebola-fast-facts/ VOX: http://www.vox.com/…/the-deadliest-ebola-outbreak-in-history-is-happening-right-now Ebola Fun Facts: https://sites.google.com/site/ebolavirus30443/home