Ebola Outbreak: What Is It and How Should You Prepare for It?

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) isn’t a new issue but not all people know it fully. While the virus was first identified in 1976 and there were several cases of outbreaks recorded thereafter, the most recent outbreak is the worst of all. This deadly disease, indeed, brings greater threat and challenge to the whole world.

Unfortunately, there is no proven drug to treat and prevent EVD. In an attempt to eliminate it, scientists and healthcare experts make a number of research and experimental treatments.

While efforts to treat EVD are underway, awareness and education are our mere weapon to prepare for it or stay away from the danger of contracting this disease.

What You Should Know about It

The origin of the EVD remains uncertain. But scientists believe that its spread to human beings is caused by a direct contact with an infected fruit bat or wild animal.

Signs and symptoms of this disease are often mistaken for some other illnesses. These include combination of headache, sore throat, chest pain, red eyes, skin rash or bleeding, joint and muscle pain, diarrhea, and fever.

The virus transmits and spreads via direct contact with body fluids or blood of someone who had shown symptoms of the disease. It spreads fast and a patient could die in a few days or weeks after exposure to the virus.

The recent outbreak in West Africa is at its worst. There were outbreaks in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and recorded cases in some African countries like Nigeria, Senegal, and Mali. The virus had also reached US, Spain, Norway, Britain, France, and Germany through aid workers and healthcare experts who had gone to infected countries to treat Ebola patients.

Since Dec 2013, there have been over 10,000 cases of Ebola and more than 4,900 people have died (as of Oct 27, 2014). “WHO reported on Oct 14 that the number of new Ebola cases could reach 10,000 per week by Dec.” as quoted by the New York Times.

How to Prepare for It

No one knows when it will come. Hence, being mindful of the virus could keep people away from it.

Here are some tips that you should heed to stay safe:

–      Observe proper hygiene.

–      Do not travel to infected areas.

–      Do not expose yourself to people who have EVD.

–      Know the latest news and public health advisories.

–      Follow government’s set guidelines and protocols.

–      Join advocacies against EVD.

Now is the time to prepare! Detect it, protect yourself, and respond properly.

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