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EBOLA VIRUS: FACTS AND PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES


As we all know, established cases of victims of the Ebola virus have been recorded in West African countries. While it is not our intention to scare you, it is essential that we are all informed about the virus, and exercise necessary precautions.

Facts:
·         Transmission to humans is thought to originate from infected bats or non-human pirates (monkeys, apes, chimpanzees, gorillas) that are infected by the virus.
·         Undercooked infected bat and primate (bush) meat transmits the virus to humans.
·         Human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from the Ebola virus or their body fluids.
·         Transmission among humans is almost exclusively among caregiver family members or health care workers tending to the very ill.
·         The virus is easily killed by contact with soap, bleach, sunlight, or drying.
·         A person can incubate the virus without symptoms for 2-21 days, the average being 5-8 days before becoming ill.
·         Only when ill does the viral load express itself first in the blood and then in other bodily fluids (to include vomit, feaces, urine, breast milk, semen and sweat).
·         You cannot contact Ebola by handling money, buying local bread or swimming in a pool.
Symptoms:
Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
 
Prevention:
·         Avoid places where you can come in contact with bats, apes, monkeys, etc.
·         Practice good hand washing habit.
·         Listen to and follow directives issued by your country’s respective Ministry of Health.
·         If you suspect someone close to you or in your community of having Ebola virus disease, encourage and support them in seeking appropriate medical treatment in a hospital.
·         If you choose to care for an ill person in your home, notify public health officials of your intentions so they can train you and provide appropriate gloves and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as instructions as a reminder on how to properly care for the patient, protect yourself and your family, and properly dispose of the PPE after use.
·         When visiting patients in the hospital or caring for someone at home, hand washing with soap and water is recommended after touching a patient, being in contact with their bodily fluids, or touching his/her surroundings.
·         People who have died from Ebola should only be handled using appropriate protective equipment and should be buried immediately.
·         Animal products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before eating.
 
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