With new reports that the deadly Ebola Virus has spread to West African country Ghana, it is time to start speaking about this epidemic that has no cure yet. A few weeks ago it was reported that the Ebola Virus was rampant in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea where 400 out of 759 deaths were Ebola cases.
African ministers and health experts were said to be meeting in Ghana last week to discuss strategies on how to stop the virus from spreading. And now, according to BBC, a male U.S citizen is currently being tested for the virus in Ghana. The man, who is said to have visited Sierra Leone and Guinea recently, has been quarantined in Nyaho Clinic, a private facility in the capital, Accra.
The best way to avoid being exposed to this disease is by getting to know the disease through and through.
Ebola is a viral illness whose initial symptoms can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat, according to the World Health Organization. And that is just the beginning: the next stage is vomiting, diarrhea and – in some cases – both internal and external bleeding.
The disease infects humans through close contact with infected animals, including chimpanzees, fruit bats and forest antelope. Even funerals of Ebola victims can be a risk, if mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased. It then spreads from one person to another: by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments. Its incubation period is two to 21 days. There is no cure, vaccine or specific treatment for the virus unlike HIV.
Here are some tips to keep yourself safe:
- Avoid traveling to areas of known outbreaks.
- Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures for Ebola virus and Marburg virus 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
Photo Credit: The Medical Blog