Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
What is Ebola fever?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is caused by the Ebola virus which has been classified by the WHO as a Risk group 4 pathogen requiring biosafety level 4-equivalent containment.
Are there any cases of the disease in Nigeria and West Africa?
Recently there has been an outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa according to the WHO, specifically in Guinea where there has been 157 suspected cases and 101 deaths and in Liberia where there has been 21 suspected cases and 10 deaths. There has been suspected cases in Mali and Ghana also, with a forecast of further possible spread to other parts of West Africa. As yet, there are no documented cases of the disease in Nigeria.
How can I get the virus?
- Primary exposure: The virus can be transmitted from animals to human through direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.
- Secondary exposure: It is transmitted from human to human through infection resulting from direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people.
- It could also spread through indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
What are the symptoms of the disease?
In the first stages of infection an individual who is infected with the virus will experience;
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- intense weakness
- Sudden fever
Later findings include;
- Impaired kidney and liver function
- The white blood cells and the platelet count will become low
What should I do if I have any of these symptoms?
If you experience any of the above symptoms especially after a visit to any of the above named countries where the disease has been recently document or after contact with anyone who recently traveled to those countries
- 1. Don’t panic
- 2. Go immediately to the nearest hospital. This will not only increase your chances of surviving the disease but will also help control the spread and prevent an epidemic in Nigeria.
What are the chances of survival?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever has a fatality rate of about 90%, which means that 90% of people who develop the disease will eventually die. There are at present, no vaccines or drugs against the Ebola virus. However prompt medical treatment increases your chances of survival.