The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has surpassed 700, according to the World Health Organization. It’s the deadliest outbreak ever recorded.
Amid fears that air travelers could spread Ebola to other countries, many are asking questions about the disease and how it is transmitted. Here’s what you need to know about Ebola. The information comes from WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CBS News reports.
What is Ebola? Ebola virus disease, sometimes known as EVD, is a highly infectios, usually fatal virus that leads to flu-like symptoms and severe internal bleeding.
Just how deadly is Ebola? The survival rate is very low. Somewhere between 60 percent and 90 percent of the people who develop Ebola will die.
What are the symptoms of Ebola? Ebola is often characterised by the sudden onset of flu-like symptoms including fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. These are followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and sometimes internal and external bleeding.
How is Ebola spread from person to person? The good news is that Ebola isn’t transmitted through the air. You aren’t going to get Ebola if an infected person sits next to you or sneezes in the same room. The disease is transmitted through contract with bodily fluids, such as blood. Health care workers are particularly at risk if they are not wearing appropriate protective equipment, such as masks, gowns and gloves.
What’s the incubation period for Ebola? The time from infection with the virus to the onset of symptoms ranges from two to 21 days.
What’s the cure for Ebola? Right now, there isn’t one. Doctors typically provide supportive care to patients, which may include oxygen, blood transfusion and fluids and treating subsequent infections. An American woman just received an experimental serum.
What’s the prognosis for Ebola patients who survive? Survivors may develop some chronic inflammatory health problems of the joints and eyes.
Why isn’t isolating patients working in West Africa? The problem in West Africa is that there is widespread mistrust of hospitals and doctors, and the health care infrastructure isn’t as good. The high death rates at hospitals have many people so scared that they often keep ailing loved ones at home instead of bringing them to a hospital for treatment.
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