Learning about the outbreak of Ebola has not been a pleasant news for many, both home and abroad. Those abroad might worry about their loved ones in the African countries where this outbreak are occurring and those at home are scared of their safety from this deadly disease. With all the madness going on in the world, Palestine and Israel fight, Boko haram, elections to say the least, news hasn’t been pleasant and we fear for our lives. Ebola has only compounded that. I know we are scared but we really need to inform ourselves and know all we can about this virus to prevent contacting it. I have done some extensive research and I will be telling you about Ebola virus; its origin, prevention and all there is to know about it. I hope you can work with me in raising further awareness about this virus though the Government is already really doing that. THANK YOU.
What is Ebola?
Ebola belongs to a group called ‘Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) which are a group of illnesses caused by several distinct families of viruses. The term VHF is used to describe a severe multisystem syndrome (multisystem in that multiple organ systems in the body are affected). Unlike most of the viruses in this group which naturally resides in an animal reservoir host or arthropod vector, the host of Ebola remains unknown.
Whats the origin of Ebola?
Research suggests that the Guinean Strain of the Zaire Ebola virus originated form a single group of patients living in the heavily forested town of Gueckedou in the remote prefecture of Gueckedou. The town is a small governmental subdivision which bothers between Liberia and Sierra Leone. The first reported case of Ebola came in 1976 and its named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo where it was discovered. The virus was officially recognized at Zaire. Prior to this year, Ebola outbreaks occurred primarily in Central Africa.
What are the infection sources?
Non-human primates, like gorillas and chimpanzes have been cited by WHO (world health organization) as possible infection sources for humans but according to experts, they are not the source of the problem. There are five different strains of the virus, four of which can spread to humans while the fifth only affects Primates.
Although how the first infected individual caught the disease remains unknown, experts have mentioned possible contamination sources. The WHO says it is believed that fruit bats may be the natural host of the Ebola virus in Africa, passing on the virus to other animals. Though fruit bats do not exhibit any of the tell-tale symptoms, they are considered to be stealthy carriers of the virus. While cooking the bats would kill the virus, the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization is urging people to avoid handling the animal as they can get infected through contact.
Humans contact Ebola through contact with the bodily fluids of the infected animals or infected humans. Doctors without borders or Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) says that while the virus is believed to be able to survive some days in liquid outside an infected organism, chlorine disinfection, heat, direct sunlight, soaps and detergents can kill it. “The virus is killed when meat is cooked at a high temperature or heavily smoked, but anyone who handles, skins or butchers an infected wild animal is at the risk of contracting the virus”, said the FAQ’s chief veterinary officer, Juan Lubroth.
Another major moment of infection according to WHO, is burial ceremonies if mourners directly contact the corpse.
Why has the number of those infected increased?
WHO and other public health oriented non-governmental organizations(NGOs) such as MSF have cited ignorance of the disease as one of the many significant factors contributing to the epidemic. The public health organization supported this claim by referring to incidents where the infected either fled hospitals, or instances in which hospital workers themselves lacked the necessary training to contain the extremely contagious virus.
Another reason why it couldn’t be contained on time was because the threat of Ebola was not a top priority for most countries including MSF which was more concerned with fighting HIV/AIDS, Cholera outbreaks than Ebola which only became a top priority in March 2014.
I will tell you more about the virus (symptoms, treatment, it’s emergence in Nigeria e.t.c) in subsequent posts. Please share this post and let’s help create an awareness.
o CNN Website
o ABC News