The historic 2014 Ebola epidemic struck a chord of fear in people all over the world, particularly in the US where Ebola cases were unheard of. While the situation was very serious and affected many people, panic and anxiety infected many more. Encouraged by the virus’ exceptionally high mortality rates in underdeveloped nations, misinformation spread even more rampantly than the virus and many people lived in an unnecessary state of fear. At Golden Triangle Emergency Center, we are committed to protecting the welfare of our community, and part of that mission is to inform them about health and disease facts. Let’s take a look at Ebola, learn what it is, it’s symptoms, and how it is spread.
What is Ebola
Ebola hemorrhagic fever derives its name from its initial discovery near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was first identified in the late 1970s and has since been diagnosed in humans and animals. There are five Ebolavirus species, four of which develop into illness in humans. The remaining species causes disease in animals.
- Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus)
- Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus)
- Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus)
- Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
- Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus) – No known human infections
Ebola Symptoms and Diagnosis
Vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and headache are common symptoms connected to Ebola. These symptoms, however, are also connected to a vast range of other afflictions ranging from malaria to the stomach flu. Thus it is important to seek a medical diagnosis if you are experiencing these symptoms or have traveled to an area outbreak area.
Ebola symptoms generally take around a week to appear. However, they can show up in as little as two days from time of infection to as much as three weeks. While symptoms of different diseases may be similar, risk factors will help determine the need for isolation and testing. It is not clear whether recovered hosts of the Ebolavirus are at risk for re-infection, but diagnosis and treatment should be sought immediately in order to properly explore all available options.
Ways to Contract Ebola
Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids. The Ebolavirus is not airborne. An infected person can share the virus by excreting fecal matter, urine, vomit, saliva, and or other body fluids. When these fluids come in contact with another person’s open wounds or mucous membranes, the virus spreads. There are currently no Ebola vaccines available to the public.
The 2014 Ebola outbreak hit the African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea the hardest. Other countries saw increased cases of virus transmission due to travelers and the exposure of healthcare personnel to infected victims. Within the continent of Africa, there were many countries that were only mildly affected.
Arm Yourself With Facts in the Fight Against Ebola
It is important to have accurate facts to avoid unnecessary stigma and fear. In general, Texas residents are not at high risk for Ebola transmission; however, if you are concerned that you may be infected with Ebola or any infectious disease, it is paramount that you seek medical assistance immediately. Remember Golden Triangle Emergency Center offers round the clock emergency medical services delivered by knowledgeable, local, friendly, and caring staff in state of the art facilities.