The Excruciating Epidemic of Ebola

My father, being a doctor keeps “advising” me to keep up with the latest news of medical science so two days ago when he called me up and randomly asked me about Ebola the last thing he probably expected me to say was, “Ummmm,is it the new Indian version of Ebay?”. My father got the shock of his life and I, well let’s just not talk about that!

So I spent the next two days figuring out what the hell Ebola is all about and I can surely tell you it has nothing to do with Ebay. Hence, with this write up I am hoping to help my readers avoid any embarrassing conversation concerning Ebola especially the ones that include your parents!

Now, the question of the hour – What is Ebola?

Ebola is the latest epidemic grabbing headlines for the vast devastation caused in the African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has already claimed 729 lives so far and has affected as many as 1300.

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Yes people this is as serious as it can get! Caused by the deadly Ebolavirus it is practically an incurable disease which results in the rapid deaths of the patients. Now before you start to panic- Please don’t!

Why should you not panic?

Ebola is mostly known to exist in the African nations. Fruit bats are the reservoir of Ebolavirus. The most known carriers of this virus are monkeys though pigs too have been recently found to be carrying the virus. Animal to human transmission takes place through bodily fluids of the infected while human to human transmission is easier still. Besides bodily fluid humans can also transmit the virus through contaminated medical tools like syringes. So you see, for people sitting far away from the infected areas there is nothing really to worried about!

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Till date it had not been much heard of probably due to the fact that it only occurred in remote areas which weren’t very well connected to the main cities and hence to the rest of the world and also the immediate death of the infected people didn’t allow it to spread a lot. This time though the virus has found its way to the national capitals of these nations and hence more chances of contamination, thanks to the increased mobility of people from one part of the world to another.

I said no reason to panic not just because it has till date only known to occur in Africa which I just pointed out isn’t as good of a prevention anymore but also because like all other diseases this too has some symptoms which are easily noticeable. So if you have general symptoms of Influenza- nausea, fever, severe headache, muscular or joint pain, don’t worry you might just have Influenza but… but if you happen to live in Africa or have just been to that part of the world you might actually be showing the early signs of Ebola. But these are just the early signs, this merciless disease then progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea, multiple organ dis-function and ultimately affects the central nervous system. Most people know of haemorrhage as the worst consequence of this condition but the fact is that most of the deaths occur due to multiple organ disorder syndrome.

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The next question you’re probably thinking of is- What to do if you do have Ebola?

Now the first thing one should do is to distance the infected person from the rest of the family. Yes, it does sound cruel but believe me for this is the best that should be done keeping in mind the health of the rest. The infected person should be hospitalized and I’m pretty sure that the doctor too will ask you to keep away. The disease as such cannot be cured but of course the symptoms can be controlled. So the best to do in a situation as this is to stop the further contamination.

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The whole situation of this might seem scary but to scare someone was the last thing I wanted to do. They say “Prevention is better than cure”, for in most cases it is true. Its even truer here as where there is no cure, prevention becomes an absolute necessity!

I have hopefully helped enlighten you about this epidemic but for anyone who needs more information about Ebola the following links might be useful-

  1. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease

  2. http://www.vox.com/2014/7/31/5952515/facts-you-should-know-about-the-ebola-outbreak

  3. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001339.htm

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