Now that the CDC has confirmed a case of Ebola in the U.S., allow us to tell you a little bit more about the often fatal virus with no perfect cure so that you may better protect yourself against the outbreak.
While many have chosen to panic over the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States as of Sept. 30, there’s no reason why the average American would contract the disease given that they follow careful prevention strategies. In order to know more about what the American public must now face, read on for more about the history of the virus and how it’s transmitted.
1. Ebola — What Is It? 5 Things To Know About The Deadly Virus
Firstly, the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A schoolteacher was diagnosed with what would become known as the Ebola virus after it was contracted nearby the Ebola river at the border of the Central African Republic. Later, 318 cases were identified and 280 of the afflicted would die, making for an 88% mortality rate. However, the disease was contained after the World Health Organization stepped in to contain it.
Another major outbreak would occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1995 and in Uganda in 200; hundreds were killed yet again. While small outbreaks would occur in the intervening years, another major outbreak is currently underway and it is the largest ever. Discovered in Guinea, the disease has hit nearly 5,000 people and resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, though the WHO thinks that that number may be an underestimate.
2. Ebola Symptoms
The ebola virus normally presents with influenza-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, headaches, etc., as well as vomiting and diarrhea. A “bleeding phase” comes about a week after the first symptoms present, and happens to 50% of sufferers. Internal bleeding causes blood to show up in vomit and in the stool. The blood loss may be so severe in some sufferers that it results in death.
3. Ebola — How To Contract It
Ebola can only be contracted via human-to-human contact of blood or bodily fluids, so don’t worry too much. Dead bodies also contain the virus, and so it is believed that the burial practices in Guinea in 2014 have led to the outbreak growing ever larger.
4. Ebola — What To Do If You Think You Have It
If you think you have Ebola, it’s important to contact the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO. You will be monitored by doctors for approximately 21 days and quarantined. In Dallas, a “handful” of people close to the afflicted are being monitored.
5. Don’t Be Scared To Fly, And Don’t Be Scared To Live Your Life — All Precautionary Measures Are Being Taken
While the patient from Dallas contracted the disease on a trip to Liberia, he was no threat to the other passengers on the plane as his symptoms had not yet made themselves present. Only once a person is sick with the disease can they transmit it to others, and even then only via bodily fluids.
“Americans need to remain calm and listen to the precautionary measures being suggested by the CDC,” said Senator Chris Coons. “It was only a matter of time before an Ebola case would emerge here in the United States, but as we’re seeing in Dallas today, our public health system has the resources, capabilities, and knowledge to address and contain this virus quickly and safely.”
HollywoodLifers, stay safe! But don’t panic.
— Amanda Mitchell