Ebola — the name alone is enough to make you come scrambling back home and locking yourself up in your bedroom to ensure you’re not going to get infected. Just like in any other given situation, panicking won’t do you good. What you need instead is to read the following because having the right information can help you stay safe:
1. It is in West Africa where the current Ebola outbreak is prevalent. As of September 26, 2014, there were over 6,500 documented cases in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. There were also a handful of cases in neighboring countries such as Nigeria, Senegal and in Congo. The only case in the US involves a person who traveled from West Africa to Dallas, Texas.
2. According to the experts, almost 50% of all Ebola cases in West Africa have led to death. Some of these reported cases involved health workers who directly participated in the treatment of infected individuals.
3. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel warnings for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone due to the alarming incidences of Ebola infection in these countries in West Africa.
4. Screening for Ebola cases in various entry points in the US is being conducted. This is carried out by checking who among the arriving passengers have fever, one of the early symptoms of Ebola.
5. Ebola is an RNA virus that is passed from person to person via bodily fluids. A casual physical contact won’t spread the infection. In fact, experts say that there is no documented case that Ebola was transmitted through sneezing or coughing.
6. Early symptoms of Ebola surface 8 to 9 days after exposure to the virus. Some of them include headaches, fever, body aches, cough, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Because these symptoms are similar to those of many other viral infections, experts may have a hard time diagnosing Ebola very early on.
7. In order to be infected, you have to come into contact with the blood and other bodily fluids of an infected individual. Someone who has the virus but without exhibiting any of the early symptoms is not regarded as contagious.
8. After the appearance of initial symptoms, bleeding may take place. It’s not unlikely for the infected individual to exhibit red eyes as well as vomit blood and have bloody diarrhea. There’s no cure for these particular symptoms of the infection although the experts can offer supportive care such as provide oxygen and maintain normal blood pressure.
9. Currently, there is no vaccine that may be used to make uninfected individuals safeguarded from Ebola. The good news is there are a handful of vaccines being tested by health authorities these days.
10. To date, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drug for the treatment of Ebola. However, there is a particular drug that is being tested on a couple of infected American health workers in Liberia in West Africa.