Ebola Facts and Possibilities
Ebola virus disease (EVD) was first discovered in 1976 in twop simultaneous outbreaks, one in what is now, Nzara, South Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo near the Ebola River, where the name comes from. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention former Director, Tom Frieden, went on record, “As long as Ebola is spreading in West Africa, we must prepare for the possibility of additional cases in the United States.” And current CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said that the latest (2018) Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) “should bring front and center the reality that in the future there are bound to be more difficult public health outbreaks in insecure environments that will be in the US interest to contain.”
The US has designated 35+ hospitals nationwide as Ebola treatment centers.
Serious outbreaks, including Ebola can spread like wildfire. How easily? Imagine a theater full of people. One of them is infected with Ebola but doesn’t know it yet.
He coughs and his droplets hang on the air and then are inhaled by the man in front of him who opens his mouth to laugh at a funny scene in the movie. Just like that, a pandemic is born.
You need to educate yourself about Ebola so that you can protect yourself and your family. That’s how you win the battle against anything – with the knowledge you need to keep yourself as safe as possible.
Ebola is a virus and there five types. They are:
- Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV)
- Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)
- Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)
- Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV)
- Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)
Most people only know that it’s hard to tell if a person has Ebola from the symptoms alone.
Someone can get infected with the virus and it can take anywhere from 48 hours to three weeks before you notice any symptoms – and every case is unique. So that means that person can go about their normal activities spreading it to more people, not even knowing that he or she is carrying such a deadly virus.
Symptoms of Ebola
They’ll wait a couple of days to see if they get any better. And because this virus has no cure, that makes it even more dangerous. At the first start of the virus, you may notice that you just feel “off.”
You might have a headache, usually severe. Achy muscles are another symptom. Sore throats can occur when you’re infected with the Ebola virus.
You can feel extremely fatigued and very weak. There may be experiences of stomach pain and nausea. Not having an appetite is common. Vomiting and diarrhea usually follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. At some point, you may develop a high fever as your body makes an attempt to fight off this virus.
All of these symptoms fool people into thinking that they just have the flu. But, this virus continues to cause your health to worsen and so the symptoms become even more pronounced.
Eventually, there may be unexplained hemorrhaging (bleeding or bruising) internally and externally, from the body’s orifices. This includes the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Ebola can also cause rectal bleeding. The reason that the virus causes blood to seep from the body in various places is because it attacks your body’s ability to clot blood. The virus overwhelms the cells and they can’t work to clot the blood as fast as the virus can work to destroy the cells. Swelling in various parts of the body can also happen. At this point, most people will realize that something is seriously wrong.
Some people will experience a rash along with the reddening of the eyes, but not every patient will develop this symptom. Someone infected with the virus usually dies because of how the virus ravages the body’s organs and because the blood pressure drops too low from the bleeding out.
How Ebola Is Spread
There are numerous ways that you can contract the Ebola virus and many ways that it can be spread. That’s one of the reasons why it’s been so difficult to contain.
Most people mistakenly think that the only way the virus can be spread is through direct contact with someone else who’s symptomatic. Direct human contact is only one of the ways the virus is spread.
Surfaces are the second way. The virus is tough enough to live on surfaces as long as 48 hours if the conditions are right for its survival. It doesn’t usually survive long on surfaces in very cold or very hot temperatures.
However, it can live on surfaces if the area is at room temperature. The top way that the virus is spread is through human contact. You can come in direct or even indirect contact and then contract the virus.
Body fluids are how the virus is being spread so rapidly. If someone has Ebola and another person comes in contact with blood from the one infected, then he or she can go on to develop the virus.
This can happen by touching someone without the use of gloves. But you can also get it by touching any object that has an infected person’s blood (or even sweat) on it.
This means used tissues or medical instruments as well as infected clothing. Saliva is another body fluid that can cause the virus to pass from person to person.
If someone is drooling and you touch the drool, you can get Ebola. If an infected person drinks from a cup and leaves a bit of their saliva on the side of the cup and you come in contact with it, you can contract the virus.
The virus can also be spread through infected urine. If someone goes to the bathroom and a drop of urine spills on the floor, you’re at risk of getting the virus if you come in contact with the urine.
If you come in contact with the feces of an infected person, then you have a chance of getting sick with the virus. Semen is also another body fluid in which the virus can be shared.
Sweat can also cause the disease to be spread from one person to another. If someone who has the virus sweats and another person trying to be helpful, lifts that person by putting their hands under his arms, that can be a direct contact.
One of the reasons that the virus spreads so quickly with body fluids is because most people don’t realize at first that they’re sick. Even when they become symptomatic, they pass those symptoms off and so they end up being the link that carries the virus to someone else.
Even if someone does survive the disease, there’s a potential that the once infected person can still pass it on for up to just under 8 weeks. Any item that’s been contaminated with the virus carries the potential of giving the virus to you.
If there are medical supplies such as IV bags, needles, or medical instruments that have the virus on them, you can get the virus by touching these items and introducing Ebola into your body.
All it takes is for a person to touch a contaminated item and then rub his eyes or touch his finger to his mouth. Any open cuts on the skin an also be a way for the Ebola virus to get into the body of you touch an item that’s been contaminated.
Soiled linens that someone with the virus has rested on can also be capable of spreading the virus from one human to another. Humans and touching a contaminated item aren’t the only way that the Ebola virus is transmitted.
The third way is by having contact with an infected animal. According to the World Health Organization, the virus can be passed on to humans by animals infected with the virus.
One of the main culprits for spreading the virus is the fruit bat. When these animals bite another animal or another animal eats something that has the fruit bat’s infected saliva on it, the virus is spread.
What then happens is people handle the carcasses or organs of these infected animals and they become infected.
There’s no a big concern that somehow the virus will begin spreading through mosquitoes like malaria. That would be a nightmare of pandemic proportions if an outbreak occurred in the United States.
The long term prognosis of surviving Ebola stands at just 10% to 25% with the average being about 50% for those who contract the virus. Death can occur in six to sixteen days after contracting the Ebola virus. It’s a grim statistic, and one you should be very aware of so that you can be prepared.
You must have food in order to survive an Ebola outbreak so watch for Part 2 of our Ebola series, Plan for How You’ll Feed Your Family.