The Ebola Virus
All the times I heard about Ebola growing up, it was referred to as a biological weapon used in a covert operation in a fancy Tom Clancy novel. It was almost a mythical-laboratory developed- advanced technology- in the time of aliens-concept.
Then a couple of months ago, all hell broke loose.News started to trickle in with the words Ebola Virus. In Africa, more specifically, on our own side of the creek- in West Africa. There was Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and wonder of wonders, someone who was already being ravaged by the virus, snuck into Lagos, Nigeria. The presence of this disease has caused panic for Nigerians especially in the city of Lagos. All that time when the Ebola virus had not been confirmed in Lagos and the reports kept saying “suspected”, we are all hoping it was just a scare. Social media went agog. The hospital denied it, then confirmed it, then denied it again. It seemed like the devil had sent tiny little dreadful elves to do a dance on the minds of Nigerians who already had a mild case of hypochondria. Then it happened. Patient zero died. Then the Doctor in Sierra Leone went down. The Doctor that handled the case of the Liberian in Lagos tested positive. And it occurred to us that if even the medical personnel were not safe, nobody was safe. Hand sanitizers were sold. Even the Super Ebola Hand Sanitizers made in Mama Chukwuka’s bathroom in Enugu with soap, alum and Holy water hit the stores.
And today, a total of 8 suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in Nigeria. 8 is more than enough.
With conspiracy theories flying around about a serum, about Africans being test subjects and lab rats, the reality does not change, with more news trickling in of suspected Ebola virus cases every day. The focus should be on protecting ourselves. I am sure we have seen this a million times but it never gets old.
Let us all equip ourselves with knowledge on the disease and how to help ourselves.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is simply a human disease caused by the Ebola virus. Ebola viruses are carried around originally by monkeys and fruit bats. Bats themselves are not affected by the disease but can infect another living being.
Human beings get the disease by being in contact with the blood or body fluid of infected monkeys or fruit bats. Fruit bats eat fruits halfway and drop it, and monkeys pick it up- eating saliva infected fruits, and then humans get it from monkeys by being in contact with their saliva or blood while killing them. Fruit bats are also reported to be a treat, eaten by people in parts of West Africa where they are smoked, grilled or made into a spicy soup.The virus then spreads person-to-person, especially within families, hospitals, and during some mortuary rituals where contact among individuals becomes more likely. Those who survive may be able to transmit the virus sexually for up to 2 months.
Ebola virus has a sudden onset and you think it is a flu with symptoms like; general malaise, fever with chills, sore throat, severe headache, weakness, joint pain, muscle pain, and chest pain. Bleeding from the mucous membrane ( nose, vagina and others.)
It affects the following parts of your body;
The Respiratory Tract – With a sore throat, cough, dyspnea, and hiccups.
Central Nervous System- With severe headaches, agitation, confusion, fatigue, depression, seizures, and sometimes coma.
Skin- With a maculopapular rash, petechiae, purpura, ecchymoses, and hematomas. In general, development of haemorrhagic symptoms is indicative of a negative prognosis.
Hemorrhage – With bleeding from mucous membranes (gastrointestinal tract, nose, vagina and gum)
Death occurs due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) due to fluid redistribution, hypotension, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and focal tissue necroses.
The average time between contracting the infection and the onset of symptoms is 13 days, but can be as long as 25 days.
If unfortunately, someone already has the virus, here are ways of preventing a spread:
Quarantine Epidemic Areas- The Ebola virus is highly infectious the first thing governments and individuals should do is quarantine areas where the virus is detected.
Educating Transport Crews- Airline crew should be trained to know and suspect passengers who are infected and quarantine infected passengers immediately.
Training Medical Staff- Diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding from infected individuals is a hazard which puts medical staff at risk, hence all that can be done is to immediately cease all needle-sharing, isolate patients, and observe strict barrier nursing procedures with the use of a medical-rated disposable face mask, gloves, goggles, and a gown at all times, strictly enforced for all medical personnel and visitors. Doctors have to take measures to properly dispose the deceased body where necessary as the bodies are still highly infectious.
Personal Protection- the use of a disinfectant constantly will go a long way in protecting individuals. This makes the use of hand sanitizers invaluable.
AVOIDING THIS VIRUS IS SIMPLE!
- Avoid contact with INFECTED PERSONS.
- Hold a bottle of hand sanitizers EVERY WHERE YOU GO.
- Wash your hands AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
- Keep GOOD HYGEINE.
“He who cures a disease may be the skillfullest, but he that prevents it is the safest physician.”
― Thomas Fuller