Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Don't Look! There Is an Ebola Right Behind You!

I said, "Don't look!"

I admit that this is not a George Berkeley Idealism situation where if you turn your back on the issue, it ceases to exist. But that doesn't mean that Ebola is the Freddie Kreuger of diseases. It will not hunt you down and kill you.

Let's take a step back and assess the situation in a rational way. Listen to Brian Williams's words of wisdom.

Ebola is a potentially deadly virus that does not currently have a cure. That is pretty damn terrifying all on its own. I am certainly not denying that. However, panicking is never right.

How should we deal with this (totally not a) pandemic? Educating ourselves is the best start. I used the United States' Center for Disease Control website for much of my research on this topic. They have a bevy of useful information, including a Fact Sheet regarding monitoring symptoms and controlling the spread of Ebola.

What is Ebola?

"Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees)."


How is it prevented?

There are a number of ways to prevent catching Ebola. A few of the best ways follow.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Avoid places that currently have an outbreak.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are infected or handling the bodies of those who have perished from Ebola.
For more information on Ebola prevention for both medical and non-medial persons please visit

Ebola virus from
How does Ebola spread?

Ebola can be transmitted through close contact with an infected individual, sharing needles or syringes, or through contact with an infected non-human primate or fruit bats.

Ebola is not transmitted via the air or water. In West Africa, some wild animals hunted for food and fruit bats may carry the disease. "There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only a few species of mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus."

What is "close contact"? 

Close contact means touching an infected person without wearing the proper safety attire. This also refers to the exchange of fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen).

How is it treated?

At this moment, the US does not have any FDA approved medications to treat the infection. The main course of treatment is to administer IV fluids, maintain oxygen levels, and treat other infections as they arise. Because Ebola is a virus, not a bacteria, antibiotics cannot affect it.

Despite the fervor surrounding the disease, Ebola is not a death sentence. A person with a generally healthy immune system who receive proper care can survive. During the ordeal of this disease, the person's immune system will create anti-bodies that can protect the victim from re-infection for up to approximately ten years.

If you have more information on how to prevent or treat Ebola, please let us know in the comments.

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