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10 Things You Need To Know About Ebola Right Now

By Healthytravelblog @healthytravel1

Ebola VirusThe Ebola epidemic in western Africa has been brewing for months, and has appeared to hit a tipping point over the last couple of weeks. For laypeople, Ebola is a mysterious and scary disease – they see the pictures and hear the stories, and immediately become fearful.

A little bit of knowledge can help this. So here are 10 things you need to know about Ebola right now.

  1. This is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola ever recorded. According to the World Health Organization, more than 700 people have died during this outbreak (as of August 1); that’s the deadliest Ebola epidemic ever.
  2. The epidemic has been confined to three western Africa nations.  As of August 1, the outbreak has remained within the borders of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
  3. Ebola spreads through close contact. Ebola does not travel through the air like the flu does, so they only way to contract it is to come in close contact with someone who has it. Simply being on the same plane or the same airline terminal with someone who has Ebola will not make you sick. To catch it, you must come in contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease.
  4. Ebola patients are not contagious until they’re sick. In other words, if the disease is incubating in their body but there are no symptoms, you can’t catch it from them. However, early Ebola symptoms are often the same as other ailments, such as the flu or diarrhea, so it can be hard to tell the difference.
  5. Ebola is not an automatic death sentence. People can survive Ebola; the current mortality rate for this outbreak is about 60 percent.  Past outbreaks have had mortality rates as high as 90 percent. That is obviously very deadly, but the point is that people do recover. Good medical care helps. A lot.
  6. Western Africa’s health infrastructure is partially to blame for this epidemic. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are very poor countries with poor health infrastructure. That lack of quality medical care is at least partially to blame for the depth of this current epidemic. If Ebola were to spread to a wealthier nation with a stronger health system, such as the U.S., odds are it would be much more controllable.
  7. There is no vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, treatment is supportive, rather than preventative or curative. Researchers are working to find a cure. One of two Americans who have contracted the virus in Liberia reportedly is receiving an experimental treatment, and the other American with the virus has received a transfusion from a boy who survived the disease; the hope is that the survivor’s antibodies will help the American fight off the virus.
  8. The symptoms are … nasty. They include fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. As the disease progresses, the patient may suffer from some or all of the following: vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and sometimes internal and external bleeding.
  9. However, contracting Ebola does not mean that blood is going to come pouring out of your orifices. Fictionalized accounts portray people bleeding to death through their eyes, but that is over-the-top fiction. Approximately half of the people who contract Ebola develop hemorrhagic symptoms.
  10. Humans are not natural hosts for Ebola. Typically, the virus is carried by monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees and forest antelopes.

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