5 things to know about Ebola out­break in W. Africa

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

Two Amer­i­cans who had been work­ing to treat Ebola pa­tients in Africa have been stricken by the dis­ease. Officials say they will be taken to At­lanta’s Emory Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal in a tightly sealed iso­la­tion unit. The first is ex­pected to ar­rive Satur­day, and the other a few days later, ac­cord­ing to hos­pi­tal officials.

Here are five things to know about Ebola and how it is spread:

1. THE WEST AFRICA EBOLA OUT­BREAK IS NOW THE LARGEST IN HIS­TORY. The cur­rent out­break in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone has sick­ened more than 1,300 peo­ple and killed more than 700 this year.

2. BUT SOME PEO­PLE HAVE SUR­VIVED EBOLA. While the fa­tal­ity rate for Ebola can be as high as 90 per­cent, health officials in the three coun­tries say peo­ple have re­cov­ered from the virus and the cur­rent death rate is about 70 per­cent. Those who fared best sought im­me­di­ate med­i­cal at­ten­tion and got sup­port­ive care to pre­vent de­hy­dra­tion even though there is no spe­cific treat­ment for Ebola it­self.

3. EBOLA CAN LOOK A LOT LIKE OTHER DIS­EASES. The early symp­toms of an Ebola in­fec­tion in­clude fever, headache, mus­cle aches and sore throat, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion. It can be dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish be­tween Ebola and the symp­toms of malaria, ty­phoid fever or cholera. Only in later stages do peo­ple with Ebola be­gin bleed­ing both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally, of­ten through the nose and ears.

4. EBOLA IS ONLY SPREAD THROUGH BOD­ILY FLU­IDS. The Ebola virus is not air­borne, so peo­ple would have to come into con­tact with the bod­ily flu­ids of an in­fected person. These in­clude blood, sweat, vomit, fe­ces, urine, saliva or se­men — mak­ing trans­mis­sion through ca­sual con­tact in a pub­lic set­ting un­likely.

5. FEAR AND MIS­IN­FOR­MA­TION THOUGH IS MAK­ING THINGS WORSE. In each of the af­fected coun­tries, health work­ers and clin­ics have come un­der at­tack from pan­icked res­i­dents who mis­tak­enly blame for­eign doc­tors and nurses for bring­ing the virus to re­mote com­mu­ni­ties. Fam­ily mem­bers also have re­moved sick Ebola pa­tients from hos­pi­tals, in­clud­ing one woman in Sierra Leone’s cap­i­tal who later died. Po­lice had to use tear gas to dis­perse oth­ers who at­tacked a hos­pi­tal in the coun­try.

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