Facts about the #Ebola virus..
What is the Ebola virus?
Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body.
As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding.
The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, kills up to 90% of people who are infected.
How Do You Get Ebola?
Ebola isn’t as contagious as more common viruses like colds, influenza, or measles. It spreads to people by contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal, like a monkey, chimp, or fruit bat. Then it moves from person to person the same way. Those who care for a sick person or bury someone who has died from the disease often get it.
Other ways to get Ebola include touching contaminated needles or surfaces.
You can’t get Ebola from air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either.
What Are the Symptoms of Ebola?
During the early stages, Ebola can feel like the flu or other illnesses. Symptoms usually show up 2 to 21 days after infection (Incubation period) and usually includes:
- High fever
- Joint and muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
As the disease gets worse, it causes bleeding inside the body, as well as from orifices (eyes, ears, and nose). Some people will vomit or cough up blood, have bloody diarrhea, and get a rash.
How Is Ebola Treated?
There’s no cure for Ebola, though researchers are working on it. Treatment includes an experimental serum that destroys infected cells.
Doctors manage the symptoms of Ebola with:
- Fluids and electrolytes
- Blood pressure medication
- Blood transfusions
- Treatment for other infections
How Can You Prevent Ebola?
There’s no vaccine to prevent Ebola. The best way to avoid catching the disease is by not traveling to areas where the virus is found.
- Avoid areas of known outbreaks. Before traveling to Africa, find out about current epidemics by checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
- Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.
- Avoid bush meat. In developing countries, avoid buying or eating the wild animals, including nonhuman primates, sold in local markets.
- Avoid contact with infected people. In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person’s body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. People with Ebola or Marburg are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.
- Follow infection-control procedures. If you’re a health care worker, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Dispose of needles and sterilize other instruments.
- Don’t handle remains. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola or Marburg disease are still contagious. Specially organized and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.
- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
- EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
- EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
- Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
- Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.
- The Ebola virus first appeared during two 1976 outbreaks in Africa.
- Ebola gets its name from the Ebola River, which is near one of the villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease first appeared