How is the Ebola virus spread?

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Ebola virus disease

Ebola virus disease (EVD) also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is a severe disease of humans and other primates caused by an RNA virus of the family Filoviridae and genus Ebola virus.

The disease has a high fatality rate killing between 25%-90% of those infected. Research conducted in 2005 suggested fruit bats to be the likely reservoir due to their ability to spread the virus without being affected by it.

The largest outbreak to date took place in West Africa between March 2014 to June 2016, affecting primarily Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Nigeria. A total of 11,296 cases were recorded including suspected and probable cases.

The first case of EVD in Nigeria was confirmed in Lagos on 23 July 2014 and spread to involve 20 laboratory-confirmed EVD cases. 8 of the confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria eventually died (case fatality rate of 42.1%) and 12 were nursed back to good health. In Nigeria, the rapid control of the EVD was facilitated by the rapid detection of the index case, the comprehensive contact tracing measures and the isolation and treatment of the secondary cases.

On October 20th, 2014 Nigeria was declared free of EVD by the World Health Organization

HOW EBOLA SPREADS

Ebola spreads from person to person through direct contact with:

  • blood or body fluids such as urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen of an infected person or someone who has died from Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated by an infected person or someone who has died from Ebola
  • infected animals such as fruit bats, apes, monkeys (bushmeat)
  • contact with semen of an Ebola survivor

Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

Some Ebola symptoms mimic malaria, typhoid, or cholera symptoms so please go to the hospital if you have any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Muscle Pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding

PREVENTION TIPS

To stay safe, you must:

  • Maintain good hygiene habits
  • Wash your hands with soap regularly (especially after using the bathroom and before you eat)
  • Use hand sanitizer if you can’t find soap and clean water
  • Be aware of strange signs or symptoms in your body
  • Avoid contact with blood and body fluids
  • Don’t eat bushmeat
  • Don’t assume every fever is malaria! Get tested!

Health professionals should practice proper infection control and sterilization measures for universal safety, and make use of personal protective equipment when treating suspected cases.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET SICK

Early diagnosis is important to increase the chances of a full recovery. If you suspect that you or someone around you has Ebola, seek medical treatment immediately.

For suspected cases, contact:

  • Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC)
    • Toll Free: 080097000010
    • SMS: 08099555577
    • Whatsapp: 07087110839
  • Your state Ministry of Health

RELATED LINKS:

Ebola fear: Nigeria tightens surveillance at airports, borders

Ebola stage a return , Kills 17 in Democratic Republic of Congo

RESOURCES:

Ebola virus disease: WHO Key Facts

Ebola: Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

Ebola: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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