Ebola – Ten Facts You Need To Know In The United States: Make sure you know all the relevant facts about the current Ebola outbreak and what impact, if any it may have for you, your friends and family.
1 – The current Ebola outbreak is mostly concentrated in West Africa
According to the World Health Organization, just under 4700 cases of Ebola have been reported in the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, during the latest outbreak. More cases of Ebola have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and an additional 20 cases were reported in the countries of Nigeria and Spain.
The first case confirmed within the United States was in a person who had travelled from West Africa to Dallas, and died of the illness.
2 – Travel warnings have been issued for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against all non essential travel to West African countries while the current Ebola outbreak is ongoing.
3 – Screening for Ebola is taken place at main entry points to the United States
The CDC and Department of Homeland Security has announced that passengers coming in to the United States from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and arriving at New York’s JFK International Airport, Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare and Atlanta airports, will be screened for fever and possible Ebola exposure.
4 – An RNA virus is the cause of Ebola
An RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus that infects wild animals, such as monkeys and gorillas, as well as humans, is responsible for the emerging health threat.
According to data produced by the World Health Organization, outbreaks of Ebola began in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the Ebola River, and Sudan, with later outbreaks in Uganda and other African nations.
5 – Early Eboal symptoms are similar to other viral infections
Fever, headache, body aches, cough, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea are the early signs of Ebola. Such symptoms as also common for a wide variety of other diseases, making it difficult to correctly diagnose Ebola at early stages. The incubation period, the time it takes from exposure to Ebola, to developing symptoms, can be anywhere from two days to three weeks. Although, most people who have been infected with Ebola will show symptoms within the first 9 days.
6 – Bleeding is common in the later stages of Ebola
Within just a few days of the early onset of symptoms, the later symptoms of Ebola can start to present themselves, as a result of internal and external bleeding.
Such symptoms can include the eyes becoming red, the vomiting of blood, bloody diarrhea, cardiovascular collapse and death.
7 – Ebola can be fatal
According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization, around one half of all Ebola cases in West Africa has resulted in death during the current outbreak.
Due to the close contact with sick patients, health workers often end up contracting Ebola, some of which have already died from the disease.
8 – New medications are currently being developed to fight Ebola
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any treatments for Ebola, drugs that are under study have been used to treat two American health workers who were infected in Liberia.
The drug under study is made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc and is known as ZMapp. It has been described as a experimental, antibody-based medication, which is produced in plants and has not yet been found to be safe for use in people.
9 – There is currently no vaccine to prevent Ebola
Vaccines in development have been effective at preventing Ebola infections in animal studies and safety testing of new vaccines in people is now under way.
10 – Ebola is not currently a risk to the general public in the United States
Unless you are in direct contact with bodily fluids of someone with Ebola while they have viral symptoms such as fever, vomiting, and cough, you are not at risk of the Ebola infection.
To protect the U.S. public health, the CDC is building up their capacity for testing and surveillance, and getting infection control information out to health workers.
They are also training medical responders, flight crews and airport workers on how to report a sick passenger to the CDC in case isolation becomes necessary.