As of July 27, a total of 729 people out of the 1,323 cases of Ebola virus in West Africa have reportedly died. The deadly outbreak started in March and it is feared that it may spread to other regions and even to other continents.
Here are some of the most important things you need to know about Ebola virus:
- The center of the deadliest Ebola virus outbreak is in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Liberia has closed all their schools. About 340 Peace Corps volunteers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been pulled off after the virus killed two of them. Patrick Sawyer is one of the Americans who died in Nigeria due to the virus.
- Sick people can ride a plane because it takes two to 21 days before symptoms of Ebola show. Patrick Sawyer took care of his sister in Liberia, who he didn’t know had Ebola. He was able to fly from Liberia to Nigeria because officials in the airport can’t stop asymptomatic people from getting on an airplane to another country.
- Patients are isolated. Officials in West Africa have started isolating patients with Ebola, and those who came in contact with the patients are told to keep on monitoring their temperature. United States health workers are warned to be vigilant and watch out for possible Ebola from people who has been from West Africa.
- It is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. It can kill up to 90 percent of the people who were diagnosed with it. Early treatment can help lower the risk to only 55 percent.
- Its main symptoms is hemorrhagic fever. Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever, which can badly affect multiple organs. It is also associated to bleeding. The early symptoms are sudden start of fever, muscle pain, weakness, soar throat and headaches. Rash, difficulty in breathing, swallowing problems, chest pains, vomiting, diarrhea, liver dysfunction, kidney problems and internal or external bleeding are also symptoms of Ebola, which is why it is sometimes mistaken as typhoid fever, malaria, or meningitis.
- There are no specific treatments for the virus. There is an experimental drug for Ebola, which has allegedly saved the lives of two American missionaries who contracted the disease. It’s called ZMapp. But WHO cannot yet be distributed to the patients as it still has not cleared clinical trials.
- Contact with bodily fluids from infected people or even animals can spread it. It’s not highly contagious but you can get it if you were contaminated with infected bodily fluids from patient’s used glass, syringe, bloodied clothing, etc.