The Ebola “Outbreak”: Should We be Scared?


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Shenandoah Briere ‘18, STAFF WRITER

For weeks there has been non-stop talk about the Ebola virus in the news and on social media sites. There has been controversy over what the government is doing to contain the virus and prevent an outbreak that could possibly result in the death of millions. The government has released multiple statements to reassure the  the public that there is nothing to worry about because the United States has the best medical care system in the world.

Ebola, previously referred to as “Ebola hemorrhagic fever” is a disease that can come from four or five different viruses of the Filoviridae family. The virus was discovered in 1976 in communities around the Ebola River, which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. From that time until now researchers have been trying to determine the original host of the virus, with some believing it is “animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir”, but it is really still unclear as to how it came to be.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] the virus does not spread through the air, by water or food. However, it can spread through blood and bodily fluids, direct contact from an infected person who has broken skin or their mucous membranes, and by needles and syringes. CDC has found that once an outbreak occurs the disease will spread quickly in healthcare settings where there is constant contact with the disease and can infect those who aren’t properly equipped to deal with the disease.

The symptoms of Ebola include a fever of 101.5°F or higher, a severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhages. These symptoms can appear between two to 21 days after infected but on average show between the eighth and 10th day.

To help prevent Ebola you must have good hygiene. You shouldn’t handle anything that has come in contact with someone who is infected and you should also avoid funerals or burials where you would be handling the body of someone who was infected. And if by any chance you find yourself in West Africa you should avoid primates and hospitals, and when you return you must monitor your health for up to at least 21 days.

While Ebola has become very fearful to many people, by putting policies into place the prevention of the disease is possible. Syracuse Upstate Hospital is one of several hospitals in New York State prepared for a potential Ebola outbreak and researchers are doing their hardest to find a vaccine to protect people from infection.

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