As of September 30th, the United States had its very first travel-related case of a documented outbreak of the Ebola virus from a person who flew in from Western Africa and landed in Dallas, Texas. This person had no symptoms upon arriving to the US, but developed symptoms approximately four days later. The individual sought medical treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where they isolated the patient and tested the patient through laboratory analysis.
So, right about now, I bet you are ready to crawl into your little plastic bubble and hide yourself and your family from this entire ordeal. I know I am. This sort of thing is quite terrifying and feels as though it’s straight out of a science fiction novel. If you want to read the low down and dirty on this virus, you can check the CDC’s website, where they post the latest updates as they see fit.
How Ebola is contracted:
Ebola is contracted when a person comes into contact with someone who is actively sick, and has symptoms of the virus. Ebola spreads through direct contact, or so they say. This includes broken skin, mucous membranes, and all bodily orifices and fluids including urine, sweat, tears, breast milk, etc. This also includes touching anything that an infected individual has touched and then putting your hands in your eyes, mouth, etc. Ebola can survive for several hours on doorknobs, counter tops, toilet seats, or anything else that has been in contact with an infected person. The infection would need to enter into the body through the eyes, nose, mouth, or other orifice of the body to infect another person.
You can’t contract Ebola through the air, unless you are sneezed upon or coughed on. The CDC states that you are putting yourself at risk if you are within 3 feet of an infected individual. There is a concern with the local Africans hunting for food and handling “bushmeat” that is contaminated with the Ebola virus. From what we understand, Ebola is spread from mammals to humans, initially, and most likely comes from monkeys, bats, apes, or other wild mammals. You can contract Ebola by touching bat droppings.
Furthermore, there are some infectious disease experts that say the virus is transferable by aerosol spray, which means breathing or coughing. It can waft into the air and into the nostrils or mouth of another person. Given the right conditions, it seems that Ebola could transfer by aerosol spray.
So, to sum this all up, it seems that you could contract Ebola quite easily, contrary to what the news is stating. All you have to do is touch something that was sneezed upon or perspired upon, or breathe in the same breath of exhaled air by an infected individual and voila, you can have Ebola. That sounds rather contagious to me!
Humans can remain infectious for as long as 3 months after recovery, as the virus has been found in male semen and breast milk even after there are no other infectious symptoms remaining.
Symptoms of the virus:
Symptoms can start off as a fever, severe headache, sore throat, muscle pains, weakness, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising). Often times there will be no bleeding at all but the individual will become violently ill and weak making it appear to be a terrible stomach virus from the fiery pits of hell. Things can go south in a hurry, so getting to a medical facility, promptly, is extremely important. Make sure not to touch anything or anyone and cover your face with a rag on the way there!
Chance of survival:
Depending upon the immunity of the person infected, the care given to them, etc. fatality rates can be anywhere from 25% – 90%, giving an average survival rate of around 50%.
Different strains of Ebola:
There are five different strains of the Ebola virus, named after the areas in which they originated. Of the five strains the Zaire strain, named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) is the most deadly. The other strains are Bundibugyo, Ivory Coast, Reston, and Sudan.
How to kill the Ebola virus:
The Ebola virus can last for several hours on a surface, which means that infection can occur by touching something that an infected individual has touched. It can last for several days if sitting in blood or other bodily fluids. The good news is that it can easily be killed by disinfectants such as hand sanitizer and bleach cleaning solutions.
How to prevent infection and keep your family safe:
- The most important step in prevention is to avoid areas where there is an outbreak. This may sound logical, but some people insist upon traveling to these areas regardless of the outbreak.
- In underdeveloped countries avoid eating, handling, and purchasing wild bush meats, primate meat, wild mammals, etc. as this is where the virus often stems from.
- As with all sicknesses or viruses, washing your hands frequently, not sharing drinks or foods with others, and maintaining a high level of hygiene is crucial to maintaining good health.
- If you are near an area where there is an outbreak, limit your contact with other people, limit going into public places, and don’t touch your face. Use hand sanitizer or even better, wear a face mask!
Many officials say that the risk of getting Ebola is quite low, really. But, after finding out the ways in which this virus is spread, I am not so sure. The best thing anyone can do, is to stay informed about this outbreak by listening to the local news and the CDC reports.
Please, feel free to leave comments or questions concerning the Ebola Epidemic.
By Colleen Moriarty, DR Vitamin Solutions