Taking Down Ebola

I have decided that I personally detest Ebola and want to see the irritating, viral disease halted in its tracks.

It is sweeping through West Africa having already been encountered in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and my country Nigeria. The deaths are in the high hundreds from over a thousand cases. Many more people are terrified and at risk.

There have recently been reports of experimental treatments or vaccines for Ebola in the United States and some other medically advanced countries. As of today, not one of those potential cures has undergone extensive clinical trials. What that means is the science is not confirmed and we are not totally sure that the zMapp serum that two American patients have received is the primary reason for their recovery.

Abdullah D recovered from Ebola earlier this year in Guinea

60% chance of survival

Some past outbreaks of Ebola killed up to 90% of people that contracted it. This current one has so far claimed about 60% of infected people. In the case of the American patients they could just be part of the 40% that survive. Nothing conclusive there.

Even more, if the treatments did work and were approved it is unlikely that the treatments will be available in sufficient quantities as to make a difference in West Africa. The promise these treatments show mean that Ebola should never present a real threat to the world again but that isn’t much comfort for a person threatened by it now.

It should be clear. We cannot afford to let down our guard on Ebola based on shaky hope. As ‘The Atlantic’ says this fight will be won with “strategic quarantine and preventive education”.

Coincidentally, because Ebola kills so rapidly and is not believed to be contagious before the outset of symptoms which can take weeks to develop ,it isn’t as inherently likely to spread as HIV, measles or the flu.

Washing your hands is not enough

Ebola spreads through close contact with the bodily fluids of infected persons exhibiting Ebola symptoms. During casual interactions with the general public, it would appear that sweat holds the highest risk for infection. After all, there’s no way you’d be willing to go near a stranger visibly vomiting blood.

Circulating tips on how to contain the disease often place washing your hands at the top of the list, and you should but doing that isn’t enough. This is because any exposed skin can serve as a ready conduit for Ebola transmission so you should make a habit of wearing long clothing. It is only after most other parts of your body are shielded that washing your hands with soap can keep you safe. This is especially important if you use public transport on a daily basis.

You know how that works, human beings are packed tightly into rows and if there is any little available space between people, the conductor will be wanting to squeeze one more person in. If you can avoid public transport during this period, it might be best to do so. But then I suppose you wouldn’t use it often if you had a choice.

Here’s what you can do in that case. Look out for buses that aren’t as cramped. Maybe wait for that BRT that takes longer to arrive. Sit in front with the driver or take a seat next to the door where’s there’s likely to be more free space. All while wearing long clothes of course. Sweaters, suits…coats, any will do.

Be sure to take care when using restroom facilities open to everyone else and bear in mind that dogs are capable of contracting and transmitting Ebola without falling ill themselves.

Diagnosing Ebola

This part contains information you should not need but need to have. How do you identify a person that might have Ebola? Trademark symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash and occasionally internal and external bleeding.

If you notice any of these symptoms in anyone that might have been exposed to an infected person, have them drive down to the nearest government hospital, (I say government hospitals because I expect those institutions to be most prepared and equipped to handle possible Ebola cases) and state the symptoms clearly so the health workers know what they might be dealing with and use protective equipment.

Early treatment is thought to somewhat increase the odds of survival. Not by very much perhaps, but if a person got Ebola, even a slight advantage might help them cross over into survival. Going for testing on the onset of symptoms would also reduce the chances that other people around them could also come down by the disease. Entire families have been wiped out in the latest episode of the despicable virus.

And that wraps it up this summary, with quarantine and preventive measures, We will make yet it through this.

If you’d like more information by all means start here :

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/the-secret-ebola-treatment/375525/

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/answers-questions-about-ebola-virus-symptoms-and-risks

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/04/what-are-your-chances-getting-ebola/dsF58FxG8P3AlSKexoeQOL/story.html

Tolu O

@TReflector

8th of August, 2014, Lagos, Nigeria.

10.30pm.

CORRECTION: I originally wrote that  long clothes could help minimize the spread of Ebola. It turns out this isn’t strictly true because Ebola only enters people through mucous membranes or broken skin. In other words, if a person doesn’t have any open wounds on their skin, wearing long clothes wouldn’t make any difference. So handwashing can be enough for you, if no parts of your skin are broken. 14th-Aug-2014.

 

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Tolu O

intends to learn to write someday, is inquisitive, maverick, and a playful lover- of music and words.

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