By James Smith
30 July 2014
The word Ebola strikes fear in Africa, and with the massive outbreak happening in the African continent, where the disease has no regards for borders or ethos, the fear is justified. While a quick disease, it is not merciful.
Ebola, with a near 90% fatality rate, can wipe out whole families in a matter of days. In weeks, hundreds can die. There is no recognized treatment for the disease, outside of prayer.
With our global transportation system, the disease can make a return to the US, and be spread quickly before containment is possible.
In 1989, four workers at a Reston Virginia primate center were exposed to a milder strain of the Ebola virus. None of them developed any symptoms. It was the first time the disease infected anyone on American soil.
In 1996, 48 rhesus macaques monkeys that were delivered from the Philippines developed and died from Ebola while in quarantine at an Alice Texas facility.
Symptoms of Ebola
After the initial contact, symptoms typically start between two days to three weeks, with a fever, throat, joint and muscle pains, and headaches. After that, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys will occur. Bleeding may occur at this point in the form of rash, bruising, and hematomas. Unfortunately, these are a sign that the person will not survive.
Once infection of a human occurs, the disease may be spread from one person to another. Men who survive may be able to transmit the disease sexually for nearly two months.
As with any pandemic, precautions are paramount. Ebola is not transmitted by saliva droplets, like influenza, but it does require contact with the patient or the patient’s fluids, like Hepatitis C or HIV. Using gloves and face mask will reduce the risk of exposure.
Should a pandemic begin, it will be fear that is the primary concern, so keeping your head about you when everyone else is panicking is the best course of action. Quarantining your family, sheltering in place, or bugging out – staying away from crowds of scared people is your best bet in the beginning.
Ebola, like most viruii, will die if exposed to bleach, phenolic cleaners, and UV radiation. However, the number one method is to simply stay away from infected patients.
There is a new antiviral known as favipiravir, that in a recent study, protected 100% of the small animals from the effects of the disease.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency last week awarded MAPP Biopharmaceutical for follow-on research into developing an antibody cocktail.
Should an Ebola pandemic begin, like any other disaster, keeping calm will improve your chances of survival. After that, use common sense and you’ll do fine.