If you’re like me, when you hear of this Ebola epidemic, you automatically think of the Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo movie “Outbreak” where they were racing to find a cure for a hemorrhagic virus not unsimilar to Ebola. Hopefully, our government isn’t sitting on the cure like they did in the movie.
So what exactly is Ebola? According to wikipedia, “Ebola virus diseaseÂ (EVD) orÂ Ebola hemorrhagic feverÂ (EHF) is the human disease caused by theÂ Ebola virus. Symptoms typically start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with aÂ fever, sore throat,Â muscle pains, andÂ headaches. TypicallyÂ nausea, vomiting, andÂ diarrheaÂ follow, along with decreased functioning of theÂ liverÂ andÂ kidneys. At this point, some people begin to haveÂ bleedingÂ problems.
The virus may be acquired upon contact withÂ bloodÂ orÂ bodily fluidsÂ of an infected animal (commonly monkeys orÂ fruit bats).Â It is not naturally transmitted through the air.Â Fruit bats are believed to carry and spread the virus without being affected. Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people as well. Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease viaÂ semenÂ for nearly two months. In order to make the diagnosis, typically other diseases with similar symptoms such asÂ malaria,Â choleraÂ and otherÂ viral hemorrhagic feversÂ are first excluded. Blood samples may then be tested for viralÂ antibodies, viralÂ RNA, or the virus itself to confirm the diagnosis.
Prevention includes decreasing the spread of disease from infected monkeys and pigs to humans. This may be done by checking such animals for infection and killing and properly disposing of the bodies if the disease is discovered. Properly cooking meat and wearing protective clothing when handling meat may also be helpful, as are wearing protective clothing andÂ washing handsÂ when around a person with the disease. Samples of bodily fluids and tissues from people with the disease should be handled with special caution.“
As of today, there is no cure. This disease has a high mortality rate of 50 to 90% of those infected with the virus. The current outbreak in West Africa is the largest to date, with more than 1320 cases being identified.
â€œTransmission of Ebola requires close contact with the infected person. It is passed through bodily fluids â€” blood, saliva, sweat, etc.,â€ stated the Doctors Company vice president of patient safety Dan Wright.. â€œMake sure that you avoid affected areas and avoid people showing symptoms such as internal and external bleeding, high fever, muscle pain, and vomiting.â€
While highly contagious the disease can be isolated, because you cannot become infected by simply breathing the virus in, it is not airborne, in other words. You have to have contact with an infected personâ€™s bodily fluid, blood, feces, mucus, semen and even sweat.
I highly recommendÂ sitting in on this webinar tonight at 6 pm. And in the meantime, please continue to pray for those who are affected by this horrific disease and for those who are tending them.