We at West Hartford are hearing more and more about the spread of Ebola, which has just recently been diagnosed in the U.S. in a man who had flown in from Liberia. For the most part, however, it is still primarily centralized in the West African and Central African nations of Sierra Leon, Guinea, Liberia. There is also a separate outbreak brewing in the Republic of Congo, totally unrelated to the above outbreak. As of this writing, close to 5000 people have been infected by the Ebola virus, and of them about 3400 have died from the disease.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a rare but deadly virus.
As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop which leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding both internally and externally. The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, can kill up to 90% of people who are infected, if not treated carefully. Interestingly, about 75% of the deaths in Liberia especially have been women, the caregivers.
How Does Ebola Spread?
Ebola virus initially spreads to people by contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal regional animal, typically monkey’s, chimp’s, or fruit bats. It then moves from person to person the same way. Those who care for a sick person or bury someone who has died from the disease often get it, hence the high numbers of women infected.
Ebola can also be spread by touching contaminated needles or surfaces. Thus far, the disease has not been airborne. You cannot get Ebola from air, water, or food.