Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Ebola: some facts to put people at ease, a little...

Here are some facts from the US Embassy in Liberia. My guess is there is a lot of panic in both Guinea and Liberia right now. I think these facts are helpful in helping people realize that yes, Ebola can be dangerous and can lead to many deaths, but that there are also things we can do to keep the virus from spreading. And, we do not need to be fearful that everyone we meet in the streets could be a potential threat. The disease really only is contagious once someone is acutely ill.

Monrovia | April 04, 2014

  • The suspected reservoirs for Ebola are fruit bats.
  • Transmission to humans is thought to originate from infected bats or primates that have become infected by bats.
  • Undercooked infected bat and primate (bush) meat transmits the virus to humans.
  • Human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from the Ebola virus or their body fluids.
  • Transmission among humans is almost exclusively among caregiver family members or health care workers tending to the very ill.
  • The virus is easily killed by contact with soap, bleach, sunlight, or drying.  A washing machine will kill the virus in clothing saturated with infected body fluids.
  • A person can incubate the virus without symptoms for 2-21 days, the average being five to eight days before becoming ill.  THEY ARE NOT CONTAGIOUS until they are acutely ill.
  • Only when ill, does the viral load express itself first in the blood and then in other bodily fluids (to include vomit, feces, urine, breast milk, semen and sweat).
  • If you are walking around you are not infectious to others.
  • There are documented cases from Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo of an Ebola outbreak in a village that had the custom of children never touching an ill adult.  Children living for days in small one room huts with parents who died from Ebola did not become infected.
  • You cannot contract Ebola by handling money, buying local bread or swimming in a pool.
  • At this time, there is no medical reason to stop flights, close borders, restrict travel or close embassies, businesses or schools.
  • As always practice good hand washing techniques.  You will not contract Ebola if you do not touch a dying person.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in Guinea (April 04, 2014)

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