12 2014
EBOLA Virus Disease

Ebola virus disease, once confined to isolated rural areas in Africa, has now begun to show up in urban areas and is spreading across national frontiers mostly on account of air travel .The virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. It can be transmitted between humans through blood or other body fluids & has no known antidote.

Signs and symptoms

EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola virus though 8-10 days is most common.

How is Ebola transmitted?

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions. However, no evidence has been found that the virus can spread through airborne transmission or through acts such as sneezing and coughing.

Key facts

• Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

• There are five types of Ebola virus. Four of them cause the disease in humans.

• EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.

• EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

• The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

• Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.

• Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

How Can You Prevent Ebola?

There’s no vaccine to prevent Ebola. The best way to avoid catching the disease is by not traveling to areas where the virus is found. Health care workers can prevent infection by wearing masks, gloves, and goggles whenever they come into contact with people who may have Ebola.

• Avoid areas of known outbreaks. Before traveling, find out about current epidemics by checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

• Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren't available.

• Avoid bush meat. In developing countries, avoid buying or eating the wild animals, including nonhuman primates, sold in local markets.

• Avoid contact with infected people. In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person's body fluids and tissues, including blood, and saliva. People with Ebola are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.

• Follow infection-control procedures. If you're a health care worker, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Dispose of needles and sterilize other instruments.

• Don't handle remains. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola disease are still contagious. Specially organized and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.

WHO has declared the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak as the "most complex outbreak leading to public health emergency", calling for global health alert in all countries. Improved public health and sanitation could help India tackle not only distant threats such as Ebola but everyday killers such as malaria, diarrhea and typhoid.

Fit, happy & healthy citizens are the key to nation’s prosperity. Let us make small changes to reward ourselves with a disease free, prosperous nation.