Since the first American was diagnosed with Ebola while working in Liberia, the virus has literally been a conversation topic every single day in mainstream media. The constant talk of the virus has put some Americans on edge and it’s important to separate facts from fiction to make sure we understand what’s going on.
We’ve put together a list of 10 facts everyone should know about Ebola. Check them out below.
1. Ebola was discovered in 1976 in the Congo. Microbiologist Peter Piot is one of the co-founders of the virus.
2. This virus is not easy to spread. It is only spread through bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, mucus, sweat, tears, semen, vomit, urine and feces.
3. Ebola enters the body through cuts and abrasions on the skin as well as through eyes, nose, mouth, throat and reproductive organs. People can also catch this virus by eating meat from or coming in contact with infected animals.
4. The virus can survive for seven hours in a dry state like on door knobs or counter tops. If fluids remain wet or at room temperature, Ebola can survive for days outside the body.
5. An infected Ebola patient is contagious as and when they begin to show symptoms. It can take anywhere from 2 to 21 days for the symptoms to kick in. A person can travel and have direct contact with others for days without passing it on. The average incubation period is 8 to 10 days.
6. The early symptoms of Ebola are fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and sore throat. Most times it can be mistaken for flu, malaria and dysentery. Once symptoms worsen, a person experiences vomiting, bloody diarrhea, internal and external bleeding, skin rashes and purple spots on the skin.
7. Once symptoms set in a person is contagious and has 6 to 16 days to beat the virus or die. The death rate is 50 to 90 percent depending on the strain of Ebola and access to medical care.
8. Patients with a strong immune system or who have access to great medical care, survival chances increase. If they do survive the virus, remains in the semen for three months.
9. The CDC predicts that there could be possibly 10, 000 new cases per week and 550,000 to 1.4 million people could be infected with Ebola by January.
Currently there is no cure for Ebola, however ZMapp was given to two Americans who contracted the disease in Libera and were sent to Emory University for treatment in August and recovered fully. A medication called TKM was used on another American in Nebraska. It is manufactured by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and since the medicine showed some promise the FDA gave it the fast track to speed up the testing process.
Sources: CNN, World Health Organization, CDC | Photo: Shutterstock