For the past few months, the deadly Ebola virus has been highlighted in news headlines across the world. It’s easy to go into panic mode but don’t! The smartest thing to do is to arm yourself with facts about Ebola so you’ll know exactly what it is and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Fact #1 The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads via human-to-human transmission.
Fact #2 Fatality rates vary from 25 to 90 percent.
Fact #3 Outbreaks are happening mainly in West African countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Fact #4 Infection occurs via direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids or secretions (urine, stool, saliva, semen) from an infected person.
Fact #5 The virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membrane.
Fact #6 An infected person cannot spread the disease until symptoms of the disease appear. This happens after the incubation period which ranges from two to 21 days.
Fact #7 Early symptoms include a high fever above 38.6 °C fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. Later symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, kidney and/or liver problems, bruising, internal and external bleeding with bloody gums and stool.
Fact #8 An Ebola infection can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.
Fact #9 There is no approved vaccine available yet.
Fact #10 Treatment of symptoms –taking in fluids, oxygen and treating other infections that occur alongside – greatly improves survival.
Did you know?
- The Ebola virus affects non-human primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees.
- Fruit bats are considered a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus.
- The first case of Ebola was recorded in 1976.
References: World Health Organisation (WHO); Clevelandclinic.org; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).