The Ebola virus plaguing west Africais one of the deadliest known to man and can kill victims within days. Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, on Friday became the fourth west African country to be affected by the virus, announcing that a Liberian national in quarantine in a Lagos hospital had died of the disease. New data from the World Health Organisation released on Friday, and dating from July 20, — before the announcement of the death in Nigeria — said the death toll had risen to 660 in the West African Region. The UN health agency said the number of cases of Ebola, first identified 38 years ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo, then Zaire, had risen to 1,093. It said 28 new deaths were recorded between July 18 and July 20. Thirteen were in Sierra Leone, 11 in Liberia and four in Guinea, which had previously borne the brunt. Forty-five new cases were recorded over the same period. In total, Guinea has seen 314 fatalities and 415 cases since the outbreak began in January. Sierra Leone’s case-count has now overtaken Guinea’s, however. It reported 12 new cases, taking its total to 454, with 219 deaths. Liberia reported 28 new cases, lifting its total to 224. Of those, 127 have been fatal. Ebola is one of several viruses responsible for haemorrhagic fever. No medicine or vaccine exists for the tropical virus, named after a small river in the DR Congo. Five “species” of Ebola have been identified so far, and have been named Bundibugyo, Sudan, Zaire, Tai Forest and Reston. – Nine out of 10 can die – The first three are particularly dangerous, with fatality rates of up to 90 percent. The Reston species has also been identified in China and the Philippines, but no associated deaths have been reported in those countries to date. Ebola causes severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhoea — in some cases shutting down organs and causing unstoppable bleeding. It is a so-called filovirus, transmitted through contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person. Experts say that while extremely virulent, the virus can be contained because it kills victims faster than it spreads. The incubation period between exposure and the first symptoms varies from 2 to 21 days. The virus has been known to spread at burials where mourners touch the body, but doctors and nurses have also fallen ill after failing to take adequate precautions. Even testing blood specimens for the disease presents “an extreme risk”, the WHO has warned, and is done only in the strictest containment conditions. The virus’s natural host in Africa is thought to be a species of rainforest bat, while another concentration has been found in the western Pacific region. People have contracted the virus after handling both dead and living chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. For now, the only approach is to isolate patients and promptly bury the dead, says the WHO. Hospital staff should use gloves, masks and goggles, and disinfect religiously. “Several potential vaccines are being tested but it could be several years before any are available,” according to a WHO factsheet. “A new drug therapy has shown some promise in laboratory studies and is currently being evaluated.”
Ebola disease as of today has no cure.Below are some few tips that can help protect you and your family from the deadly virus; FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC 1. Avoid bush meat or any meat you are not sure of its source. 2. Wash your hands frequently with detergent or soap using clean water. 3. Avoid trips to Ebola endemic countries (DRC ,UGANDA , CONGO, GABON, SUDAN etc) 4. Get a hand sanitizer for people to use in your office and educate them on the importance of sanitizers, Get one for your kids to use in school frequently and if possible for their class. 5. Avoid buying Food stuffs, Clothing or other personal materials from Markets/Shops that share the same vicinity with live or roasted bush meat dealer’s or sellers 6. Be careful with hands when using railings on the stairs, door knobs and other utilities used by the public. 7. Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn when handling sick animals or their tissues 8. Watch out for people with flu-like symptoms and sudden fever 9. Avoid Pig farms, Pig farms in Africa play a role in the amplification of infection because of the presence of fruit bats on these farms. 10. Avoid bat meats and bat products FOR HEALTH WORKERS WHO states as follows; Standard precautions are recommended in the care and treatment of all patients regardless of their perceived or confirmed infectious status. They include the basic level of infection control—hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment to avoid direct contact with blood and body fluids, prevention of needle stick and injuries from other sharp instruments, and a set of environmental controls.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF EBOLA
Ebola Disease is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of 1.Fever 2.Intense weakness 3.Muscle pain, 4.Headache and sore throat. 5.Followed by vomiting, Diarrhea, Rash, Impaired kidney and Liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding Kindly share this message far and wide.
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