Ebola virus disease, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, derives its name from Ebola river in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it was first discovered in 1976.
- It is quite deadly as most people that develop the full blown disease die.
- It is caused by a virus called Ebola having at least five species.
- No drug cure or vaccine has been developed against the disease. Early supportive medical treatment reduces risk of death from the disease.
- The virus is primarily transmitted to man by wild animals (dead or alive) like the fruit bat, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. However, the spread among people is by direct human to human contact through body secretions and fluids like blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. This can be facilitated through broken skin and items contaminated with these fluids.
- Outbreak of the disease has been reported in central and west Africa
- A person who has recovered from the disease may still transmit the virus weeks after recovery.
- The time interval between when a person is infected with the virus and when he manifests the disease (incubation period) is 2 to 21 days.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
It is a sudden illness characterized by fever, weakness, muscle pain, loss of appetite, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea. Internal organs like liver and kidneys are not spared resulting in internal and external bleeding. The patient may also develop a rash.
Common diseases that can have similar signs and symptoms as above are Malaria, Typhoid, Cholera and Shigella infection.
Since there are no vaccines yet for the disease, avoiding exposure to potential sources of the disease is key to prevention; and you can do this by:
- Avoiding contact with wild animals such as the ones mentioned above. If you must, put on personal protective devices like face mask, head cover, hand gloves and protective clothing
- Avoiding consumption of raw animal products like blood, meat and milk. Cook well before eating.
- Observing good general and personal hygiene to reduce the risk of infection
- Reporting illnesses promptly to the hospital.
- Evacuating bodies of animals or man suspected to have died of the disease and burring promptly.
Your lifestyle determines your wellbeing. Adopt quality lifestyle and be at your best always.
Message from UNILAG Medical Centre
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