Tim Davidson

Staff Writer

Many people talk about Ebola on a daily basis, mostly joking. Some of what they say is, in fact, true. But most of what people think about it is not true in the slightest. Here is a brief summary. When you type “Ebola” into Google.com, this is what appears word-for-word in big, red letters:

(Source: cdc.gov) Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with a strain of Ebola virus. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the U.S. is very low.

What you need to know: Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood and body fluids of a person infected by and already showing symptoms of Ebola. Ebola is not spread through the air, water, food, or mosquitoes.

Do not go near somebody who may have Ebola, do not touch somebody who may have Ebola, and don’t touch anything from their body, at all. According to the CDC, Ebola was likely caused and hosted by bats, and only certain animals can get it. Also it can come from contaminated equipment and primates.

It really only affects people currently in West Africa, or people coming home from West Africa. It can be treated simply, but slowly, in the United States, because our medical care is better. The chances of people getting it in the US are very rare, because here, anybody around the carrier must be quarantined for a period of time, before the virus is allowed to spread.

It is most common in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea because they have little ability to treat all the people similar to the way we do here. Liberia, the heart of the outbreak, according to their 2006 country’s health survey, has 1 doctor for about every 76,000 people, very few hospitals, due to their civil war, and a very low level of public health awareness. It is no surprise that Liberia also has problems with malaria, and UNICEF reported that 45% of Liberian children suffer from malnutrition.

So now that you know you are pretty much safe, let’s talk about what happens. Ebola symptoms do not appear right away, according to cdc.gov. They can take up to 3 weeks to begin. But a person cannot pass on the disease to others until they develop symptoms.

Early symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, unexplained bleeding or bruising, and muscle pain. Then, according to Mayoclinic, comes bloody diarrhea, red eyes, raised rash, chest pain and cough, severe weight loss, internal bleeding, and bleeding from eyes. Then bleeding from ears, nose, and rectum, and finally, death.

This is clearly such a horrible disease; ebola’s death rate has been estimated to be about 50% by the New York Post, and thousands of people have accumulated the disease, since the medical care is practically nonexistent in many parts of Western Africa. Thanks should be given to those medical helpers from all around the world who risked their lives to help the infected. If the symptoms can be treated neat and orderly, and the patient is kept alive to outlast Ebola, the disease will end, and doctors believe survivors are immune to further infection.

There is no known cure, but there have been some breakthrough moments in the laboratories, but no vaccination. There has been a successful curing of a monkey in Canada announced on June 13. The University of Maryland in the city of Baltimore is working on trial vaccines incase Ebola ever becomes more of a serious problem in the US, but for the time being, those in this country should feel relatively at ease.


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