If you want to prevent being infected by the Ebola virus, then it pays to learn more about its major causes and symptoms. You should also know who are at risk of getting the infection. There are some facts about the Ebola virus that revolve around its causes, how it spreads, symptoms and risk factors.
1. Symptoms tend to become visible between two and 21 days from the time you are exposed to the virus, but the average period wherein you will most likely experience the symptoms is around eight to ten days. Symptoms to watch out for include the following:
- Sudden fever
- Muscle aches
- Painful joints
- Sore throat
- Fatigue and Weakness
- Stomach or abdominal pain
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding (hemorrhage)
- dry cough
- Bloody diarrhea
- More frequent vomiting
- Intense stomach pain
- External and internal bleeding
- Red eyes
- Severe weight loss
- Chest pain
2. EVD is primarily caused by Ebola virus infection resulting to coagulation abnormalities. The abnormalities are characterized by the presence of rash, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver damage, increased number of viruses present in the blood and release of cytokines. This further results to damages affecting vascular cells, cells that are necessary for blood vessel formation.
If the disease remains untreated, then coagulation factors will be compromised. This will lead to damaged micro-vascular endothelial cells. This is the reason why internal and external diffuse bleeding, characterized by bleeding from mucosal surfaces such as gums, mouth, nasal passages and the eyes, happen to Ebola virus sufferers. The problem with being unable to control the bleeding is that this will trigger the loss of fluid and blood in your body. This leads to hypotensive shock, which is one of the leading causes of death in Ebola virus disease patients.
3. You will not suffer from the disease through air, water and foods that are legally purchased.The disease will only spread through direct contact. The contact can be through your mucous membranes such as your mouth, nose or eyes or through broken skin. You will most likely get the infection if you are in contact with the body fluids such as breast milk, semen, urine, saliva and sweat, as well as blood, of a person infected by Ebola.
You will also contract the disease if you come in direct contact with objects such as syringes and needles that are contaminated by the Ebola virus. You will also get it from infected primates such as monkeys and apes and from fruit bats. In Africa where the virus is widespread, the disease can also be transmitted when handling wild animals or bush meat that are hunted for foods. As of the present, there is no proof yet about the ability of insects such as mosquitos to spread the virus.
4. Healthcare providers are at high risk of contracting the disease. People in the medical industrywho are working closely with Ebola virus patients have higher risk of contracting the disease. The main reason is that they are regularly exposed to the body fluids and infected blood of patients. The virus will also most likely spread rapidly in healthcare settings. This means that those who are working in the hospital and clinic are at higher risk of being infected.
If you are working in a healthcare setting, then make sure to wear the right protective equipment to ensure that you won’t get the disease. You should observe the proper use of gowns, eye protection, gloves and masks especially when working with Ebola patients. It is also crucial to use dedicated medical devices (if possible the disposable type) when it comes to offering healthcare services to patients.
You also need to use properly cleaned medical instruments like syringes and needles. In case you are using non-disposable medical instruments, then make sure to sterilize them before each use. Note that inadequate sterilization may cause the transmission of the virus, and worse trigger an outbreak.
5. Those who have recovered from the virus may no longer be able to spread it. Take note, however, that there are studies that show that the virus is present in a patient’s semen for a maximum of three months. This means that those who have just recently recovered should abstain from sexual intercourse and oral sex within this 3-month period. Condoms can also be used when preventing the virus from spreading.
6. Risk of contracting the disease will most likely increase if you decide to visit Africa, perform animal research or do the necessary preparations for a patient’s burial. The reason why your risk of getting the infection is higher if you visit Africa is that this place experienced the Ebola outbreak recently. You are also at risk of contracting Ebola virus is you are working on an animal research. Your risk is even higher if your research focuses on monkeys imported from the Philippines or Africa. People who need to do the necessary preparations to bury the body of a friend or loved one who died from Ebola are also at risk. They may be infected because they will need to be in close contact with the patient.
7. Since the symptoms are sometimes not specific, doing a clinical diagnosis early is a bit difficult. However, potential patients of the disease should be immediately isolated. The potential patient should stay in an area or a room where others don’t have immediate or direct access to. Those who will attend to his/her needs should be equipped with the right materials or items to protect themselves from being infected. Examples are masks and gowns. It is then crucial to seek the aid of state and local health departments right away.