Ebola is the story that just won’t go away. I remember hearing about isolated outbreaks years ago in Africa and it certainly has always seemed dangerous. A few months ago, in the early Spring there was an outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa that just kept spreading and spreading.
Well this week, with the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, in Dallas actually everything got real very fast.
What is Ebola?
Ebola, in case you have missed the numerous stories, is a terrible disease that has the following symptoms:
- Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
The only time you can catch Ebola is when you are in direct contact with a person that is showing these obvious symptoms above. If you do come into contact with this disease then it can take up to 21 days to incubate once you have caught it and start to show signs yourself. The death rate is very high at 70% but of course this is based on the West African countries with bad health care systems that have had the only experience with this disease.
How Dangerous is Ebola?
So now with all the danger and fear it is important to put this into perspective. I have been seeing a lot of the fear that has been in the mainstream media, especially this week but it is hard to put this into some sort of perspective.
As you can see in the image above some diseases are much more infectious or catchable then others. The danger of some diseases compared to others is that some are easier to catch as you do not know you are infected while others are easy to tell when you are infected. In the case of Ebola you can see that someone is sick and can keep a distance. The image above is from a great NPR article on Ebola.
What Do We Do About Ebola Now?
So what do we do now? I would say that the most important thing to do is to be very aware of who you are in contact with. Remember, to be very careful with human contact and if you are sick yourself make sure that you stay away from direct contact with others.
This is very dangerous, so don’t brush it under the rug, be vigilant and very careful with yourself as well as those around you and especially everyone you come into contact with.
This will not be the last we hear I m sure about the Ebola virus and what we need to do to prepare. I will make sure that I can help you with any information that I find and can get to you.