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?

Human-to-human:

  • 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.)

Animal-to-human:

  • 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:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Lack of appetite

Some patients may experience:

  • A Rash
  • Red Eyes
  • Hiccups
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bleeding inside and outside of the body

Some examples of visible signs of infection:

Ebola virus      Hemorrhagic fever - Ebola, Dengue      

Treatment

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

Ebola_map

(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

10 comments

  • Let us all join the campaign to raise awareness and help curtail the spread of this disease. May God help our beloved country and protect our families, friends and loved ones. May God bless and protect the all health workers, journalists (like Umaru Fofana), Civil Society activists and all those who are part of, or have contributed to this cause. Let me hear you say a loud AMEN!!!

    • John-Bockarie Kamara

      With the rate at which this virus is spreading in the country, I think the campaign to rise awareness is not sufficient at the moment. They (???) should also consider mapping its route, isolate all infected persons, put them under intensive care n medication, (this must not be in public hospitals!!!), and cordon the area where these people are treated. Health stakeholders must know better how to tackle public health crisis in the event like this. I feel so sad about Ebola patients being brought to public hospitals for treatment. May God lead our decision makers to act fast…

      • I quite agree with you John, a proactive measure is needed – I mean URGENTLY needed to address this case. It should be a concern for everybody and to join the cause in whatever form we can. Care givers (nurses, doctors, etc) are now contracting the virus at an alarming rate. This shows something serious is wrong at the moment. May God help our country and its people.

  • mohamed Gandor bah

    This is a great work bro; i pray that our people have d correct n timely sensitization.

  • Jacklyn Cole

    Good article!! We should continue to educate the people of this nation of such a deadly virus.

  • Jacklyn cole

    Good write up. May the Lord take away this epidemic from our land

  • Joseph Lebbie

    Great!, You’re putting in your own little resources to help contain this scourge. The need for proper and reliable data collection at this time of need cannot be over emphasized. I only hope you will be heard. Thank you!

  • Sure J Lebs. One can always try his/best back home here but we believe in hailing mediocrity ignoring those things that keep us at par with our colleagues in the sub-region

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