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What is Ebola?

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There has been so much in the media recently about the outbreak of Ebola in various places throughout the world. To many it seems like a completely new and dangerous disease, but this is not the case, Ebola itself has been around for many years, however it is only recently that the disease has come back at an alarming rate.

Symptoms

Initially a person infected with the Ebola virus will generally have a fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, muscle weakness, a sore throat, or a combination of these symptoms and these start between two and twenty one days after becoming infected. The reason this virus is so dangerous is that it the symptoms are extremely common and can be mistaken for other ailments and illnesses.

As the virus develops things like diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, stomach pain and impaired kidney and liver function becomes issues for a person that has been infected. After this external and internal bleeding occur, the virus itself is fatal in 50 to 90% of cases, so it is important to recognize the symptoms and treat the virus as soon as possible.

Prevention

Like any disease prevention is the best cure and the best way to avoid contracting Ebola is to avoid places where the outbreak has occurred such as Sierra Leon, Guinea and other parts of West Africa. Once more is known about the virus it will be safer to travel to these destinations, as diagnosis and treatment of the disease will also improve.

There are many organisations helping in the fight against Ebola and you can donate to UNICEF’s Ebola appeal or other charities. If you believe that you or someone you know has contracted Ebola it is better to be safe than sorry and go to your local doctor or hospital as soon as possible.

Treatment

There is currently no definite treatment of vaccine for the Ebola virus, however drug therapy and potential vaccines are currently being tested and developed. It is important that any person suspected of having the Ebola virus are isolated and treated as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dehydration is a common issue with Ebola, so fluids need to be kept up orally and intravenously. Good blood oxygen levels and blood pressure should also be maintained in order the give the patient the best chance of fighting the disease and other diseases or ailments that they may have at the same time.

Those that treat sufferers of the Ebola virus need to be extremely careful and responsible not to contract or spread the disease themselves.