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What Nigerians don't know about Ebola

18 August 2014, 11:34 Hussain Obaro

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which first appeared in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan and Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo, a village situated near the Ebola river, from which the disease takes its name. EVD formerly known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF) is a severe, often total illness in humans, the virus is primarily transmitted to people from animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmissions, It is often characterized by sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function. In some cases, both internal and external bleeding. 

EVD could be contracted through close contacts with the organs, bloods, secretions or other bodily fluids of infected animals, It then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact with blood, secretion, organ or other bodily fluid of infected people and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contacts with the body of the diseased person who was killed by EVD can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. People who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to eight (8) weeks after recovery from illness. In fact, health workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD, this has occurred through close contacts with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced like we have seen in the case of the Liberian in which some medical practitioners have contracted the virus.

Also Read: Ebola health workers battle death, heat, rumors

Contrary to generally circulated believe that people could contract EVD through consumption of bush meats, the natural host of Ebola virus is majorly fruit bats, chimpanzees, apes, pigs, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelopes and porcupines so special precautions should therefore be taken against contact with these animals, their meat, blood and milk.

EVD can only be contracted through closed bodily contacts and with the fluids (saliva, semen, breast milk, blood and sweat) of a person who is already obviously physically sick from EVD. It is also untrue that people could contract EVD through hand shake as widely believed and warned even among literates and medical personnel. All hands must therefore be put on deck to ensure that our land borders, airports and seaports are properly policed by security agents and well trained medical personnel with the aim of ensuring that new cases are not allowed into the country, as we make frantic efforts to manage the cases we already have effectively   

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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