Oratory: Television and newspaper reports have featured almost daily updates on the current outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. During this outbreak in West Africa, the disease has experienced a fatality rate of about 55%. There is not a need to panic at this time, but understanding Ebola, its causes and prevention meaures are important for each of us to understand. If a loved one or someone you know is thought to have contacted the Ebola virus you should contact a medical person immediately. D. Hilton, Corporate Safety Committee
General: Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a virus of family Filovirdae, genus Ebolavirus. Ebola is found in several African countries. The first Ebola species was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since this time, Ebola has appeared sporadically in Africa. The root cause of Ebola remains unknown. However, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne with bats being the most likely source.
How is Ebola Transmitted?
When the infections occurs in humans, there are several ways the virus can be spread to others. These include:
The virus in the blood and body fluids can enter another person’s body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes from the eyes, nose or mouth. The viruses that cause Ebola are often spread among families and friends, because they come in close contact with the blood or body fluids when caring for their loved one.
During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings, such as clinics or hospitals, Exposure to Ebola can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff are not wearing appropriate protective clothing including masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection.
Dedicated medical equipment preferably disposable should be used by healthcare personnel providing care for someone infected with Ebola. Proper cleaning and disposal of instruments, such as needles and syringes, is most important.
What are the signs and symptoms?
A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear. The signs and symptoms of Ebola typically include:
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.
Recovery form Ebola depends on the patient’s immune response. People who recover develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.
What is the risk for Exposure:
Ebola has been found in several African countries. Since 1976, Ebola outbreaks have occurred in the following countries:
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
How is Ebola diagnoses?
Diagnosing Ebola in an infected person is difficult because the early symptoms such as fever are not specific to the Ebola infection. Fever is often common with other diseases such as malaria and typhoid fever.
Anyone thought to have the Ebola virus should be isolated from others and public health professionals notified.
How is Ebola treated?
Currently there are not specific vaccines or medicines (antiviral drugs) that have been proven to be effective against Ebola.
The following guidelines when used early can significantly improve the chances for survival:
What can a person do to help prevent contacting the Ebola virus?
Conclusion: The above fact sheet has been provided because of the recent news of the potential outbreak of the Ebola virus in a few instances in the U.S. The important thing to remember about anyone suspected with the Ebola virus is notify your doctor or health official as soon as possible.