This recent Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Over 4000 people have been infected with the virus and over 3300 of those infected people have died. The spread of the virus has been so bad in places like Sierra Leone that entire communities have been quarantined to stop the spreading. Even police and military personnel are present to enforce the quarantine laws so this outbreak won’t continue to get out of hand.
The Ebola Virus is very different from other viruses. Here are some facts about Ebola to get you up to speed and educate you on everything you need to know about Ebola.
Ebola doesn’t change very often. Many viruses will change over time, but the Ebola Virus is a known quantity that hasn’t really changed since it was discovered in 1976.
It is highly unlikely that someone could get infected with the Ebola Virus by simply being near someone with the virus. This virus spreads through bodily fluids, not through the air like some other viruses get transmitted.
The Ebola Virus can stay alive on surfaces for a few days so it is possible you could get it from making physical contact with objects with the virus living on them, such as clothing or bedding. But just making contact with the virus is not enough to infect you, because it would still need to enter your body somehow. One example of how you could get it from an inanimate object would be if you ate food that had the virus on it because bodily fluids of an infected person got on the food.
The general consensus is that people infected with Ebola aren’t contagious until they are sick. So that gives you time to recognize the symptoms. People infected with Ebola will get fevers, diarrhea, etc. and have symptoms similar to the common cold or the flu. If you see people with exhibiting these symptoms stay away from them.
People CAN survive ebola. About 40% of Ebola victims actual survive while around 60% die from the Ebola infection.
There are multiple types of Ebola, but the kind of Ebola that is causing the current outbreak is called Zaire Ebolavirus. Since this type of Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 only around 30% of people have survived it. However, awareness and modern technology have raised those survival rate numbers in recent years.
The main reason the current Ebola Virus outbreak is so bad in West Africa is because the outbreak is taking place in an area of the world where healthcare is very poor. In fact, the primary countries involved in this Ebola outbreak are Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. To make matters worse, there has never been an Ebola outbreak in that part of the world before so people were totally unaware of it and didn’t know how to treat it or stop the spreading.
Even though there is now an Ebola virus patient in the US with another on the way (Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol), there is really no reason for alarm. The U.S. is very aware of Ebola and is equipped to educate people about the virus as well as prevent the virus from spreading.