Ebola virus disease or simply Ebola is a disease of humans and other primates caused by Ebola viruses. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headaches followed by vomiting, diarrhea and decreased function of the liver and kidneys. At this time some people begin to bleed both internally and externally.
The disease has a high risk of death, killing between 25 and 90 percent of those infected with an average of about 50 percent. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. There were a small number of cases reported in Nigeria and a single case reported in Senegal; however, these cases were contained, with no further spread in these countries.
The world’s biggest and deadliest Ebola outbreak began with a 2-year-old boy in a village in Guinea — near the West African country’s borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia — a team of researchers reported. The boy died of unidentified causes on 6 December, followed a week later by his mother, then 3-year-old sister, then grandmother. Mourners at the grandmother’s funeral brought the virus to other villages.
Though no one can be sure who or what causes Ebola, we can do our part to prevent it. We can practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid contact with blood and body fluids. We cannot handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids. Avoiding funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola, contact with bats and nonhuman primates and facilities in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated will help prevent Ebola.
-Vernice Chong (1 Purity)