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Ebola hitting close to home

By Erin Shriver
On October 14, 2014

Retrieved from slate.com

Everyone has been hearing about the Ebola outbreak in the United States… Does anyone else feel like this virus is way too close for comfort? I know I do.

As I started to read up on Ebola, I found some interesting facts, which made me not (as) nervous about the fact that we have patients in the United States with this virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are limited ways for someone to transmit the Ebola virus to somebody else.

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes like the eyes, nose or mouth).

The virus can be transmitted by:

  • Blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
  • Objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus.
  • Infected animals

Most importantly, Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food.

Only in Africa, can Ebola be spread as a result of handling bush meat and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit Ebola virus.

Knowing this information made me very glad that I personally haven’t had contact with someone with Ebola…at least I think I haven’t.

One of the main concerns American citizens are having with the most recent patient who was diagnosed in Dallas after he arrived from West Africa is that the man was not showing signs or symptoms of the virus before leaving, which is why he did not get checked before coming home. Five days after arriving home, symptoms began to arise and he was taken to a hospital.

Now, if someone brings the virus to the United States, we shouldn’t be as worried as one may think, specifically because it is much harder to contract the virus.

There are many new protocols in hospitals around the nation to prevent any possible transmission, so the general risk of contracting this virus is still low.

If someone does contract Ebola, there is no cure or vaccine for the virus. There are no specific treatments for the disease, though patients are typically given massive amounts of hydration and electrolytes. Because patients, who do get infected, will continue to be for an unknown amount of time, they are kept in isolation for as many as two months.

That is the case for the current patient in Texas, which raised the question of citizens of why bring people back to the United States if they have Ebola?

President Barack Obama said on Yahoo News that it is important for airlines to continue to follow existing protocols, and that he will also be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening, both in West Africa and in the United States.

There is a slim chance that there will be a ban on travel from West African countries, which many U.S. officials have asked for, as they believe, it would slow the fight against Ebola.

So, what am I trying to tell you from my ramble of information? I am trying to tell you to not worry about Ebola. Even if you weren’t worried before, now you know you will never need to be, unless you know of someone who personally has it and have exchanged bodily fluids with them.

It is up to the citizens to come forward if they have had contact with an Ebola patient to help stop the virus in its path. There are many things to be worried about when it comes to health, but contracting Ebola should not be at the top of your list.

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