The Ebola Epidemic

Ally Himes

Brief History

The first case of Ebola was seen in 1976bin southern Sudan and northern Zaïre; which are both located 500 miles apart from each other. The virus was named after the Ebola River, where the disease was first found. The Ebola "virus" is actually a group of four subtypes that are 30% to 45% different at the nucleotide level, suggesting that there are four different types of Ebola viruses. While there are said to be five strains of the virus, four are found in humans and the fifth is commonly found in animals.


The virus is moderately contagious, considering the fact that you cannot catch the disease through the air. The only possible way to catch this disease is to come in contact with a patient's blood or bodily fluids who has or has had Ebola.

Symptoms

Symptoms of this virus include: fever, body aches, weakness throughout the body, vomitting, and stomach pain and diarrhea. Another symptom that has seem to have been brought up is internal bleeding, but that isn't common with everyone who has had the virus.

What's Going On Now

With the news headline "U.S to Begin Screenings at 5 Airports", people might start to become extra cautious about what's going on around them. In Washington Dulles International, O'Hare International, Hartsfield-Jackson International, and Newark International are just four of the five that are starting to take part in health screenings. Now, airport personel will take passengers temperature with a gun-like, no contact thermometer, and will require them to fill out a health questionnare. 90% of the people arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are passengers that are coming from the countires that got hit by the epidemic the hardest.

Updated News

On August 24, 2014 WHO (World Health Organization) officially declared that the Ebola outbreak had begun in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The woman who came down with Ebola was a pregnant woman who had butchered a bush animal. She ended up dying on August 11, 2014. Because of this, several healthcare workers were exposed to this virus. 38 laboratory cases were confirmed, with a total of 66 cases. In all, there were 49 deaths.

Causes

One way you could get Ebola is to come in direct contact with someone who has had or has Ebola. With this contact, you would either have to touch their blood or their body fluids. The only people who really have to deal with a case like that would be nurses and doctors; it isn't very often that everyday people other than nurses and doctors come in contact with things like that.

Yes Ebola isn't an airborne disease and you would have to come into direct contact with someone who has it to come down with the virus, but that doesn't mean that you are 100% safe from it. By not washing your hands every time you use the bathroom or not covering your mouth when you cough, you are putting yourself and others at risk for diseases and viruses.

Preventions

It is somewhat easy to prevent getting Ebola if you aren;t a nurse or a doctor. Being a doctor or a nurse working in a hospital puts you at a higher risk for coming down with diseases and viruses. The nurses that have had to deal with Ebola patients have been exposed to their body fluids and even their blood. As long as you are careful in situations like that it will be easy to keep away from this virus.


Another way to prevent getting ANY disease/virus would be just to wash your hands every time you use the bathroom or sneeze or cough. Whenever you do sneeze, make sure you get a tissue if you need one or turn away from everyone else and cover your face. When you cough, make sure you cover your mouth and turn away from everyone else, as well. Just use common sense and don't be stupid.

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How Hospitals Handle This Outbreak

For the hospitals that accept patients with Ebola, they keep them occupied in a room for 21 days to monitor the patient and their symptoms. If the patient does well and doesn't exhibit the symptoms after the 21 days, then the patient may be released. But if the patient doesn't seem to be doing better after the 21 day period, then they will keep the patient for a longer time period.