Our nation is being challenged by the spread of the EBOLA virus. News reports and statements from governmental sources often leave us confused as we try to absorb and process all the information around us. Meanwhile, everyone needs factual information to prepare and properly respond to the truths and the fears associated with the Ebola virus. While the news about Ebola is changing daily, we hope the information below will be helpful to you and your family.
- There are five types of Ebola virus. Four cause disease in humans.
- It is a “worm-like” virus.
- The virus first appeared during two 1976 outbreaks in Africa.
- Its name comes from the Ebola River, near one of the villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease first appeared.
- You can’t get Ebola from air, water, or food.
- A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease.
- Ebola isn’t as contagious as more common viruses like colds, influenza, or measles.
- Ebola is spread from person to person by coming into contact with the virus in bodily fluids (saliva, urine, blood, sweat) whether from the person directly or from the person’s bodily fluid on surfaces or objects.
- Symptoms show up 2 – 21 days after infection.
- High fever
- Joint and muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
- As the disease worsens, it causes internal hemorrhaging and external hemorrhaging: from the eyes, ears and nose. May vomit blood, have bloody diarrhea, and whole-body rash.
COURSE OF ILLNESS:
- Once in the body, the virus attaches to the surface of cells.
- It invades cells, replicates and causes cells to explode, sending virus into blood stream.
- It overpowers the host’s immune system and uses the very cells meant to fight infection to travel to other parts of the body: Liver, spleen, kidneys, brain.
- The cell explosion and release of virus sets off an overwhelming inflammatory response. This is what causes the “flu-like” symptoms which are the first signs of Ebola infection.
- In blood vessels, it causes abnormal clotting and bleeding simultaneously.
- Bleeding occurs internally as well as externally from the eyes, ears and nose.
- Bleeding into skin causes the appearance of the whole body rash.
- This whole cascade of events causes internal organs to fail.
- Loss of blood plus organ failure is what makes Ebola so deadly.
- If care providers can keep organs functioning using IV fluids, blood transfusions, respiratory assistance, there is a better chance of survival.
- Infections move fast. The virus can kill within 1 – 2 weeks.
- In the current outbreak, death rates vary from 40% to 70%.
- There is currently no cure for Ebola.
- Management of symptoms includes:
– Fluids and electrolytes
– Blood pressure medication
– Blood transfusions
– Treatment for other infections
- A vaccine is being tested, but not currently available for general use.
- Preventing EXPOSURE is the current best way to prevent infection.
- The usual blood and body fluid precautions apply. Wear masks, gloves, and goggles whenever coming into contact with a person who may have Ebola and is showing symptoms of the illness.
- Remain cognizant of your surroundings.
- Refrain from close physical interaction with strangers.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Limit unnecessary travel.
WHAT WE ARE DOING at ABC PEDIATRICS to PROTECT YOU, YOUR LOVED ONES and OUR STAFF:
- Effective October 20th, 2014, every patient that calls or enters our office for care is screened about travel outside of NC and/or contact with someone that traveled outside of North Carolina in the last 21 days. Again, PREVENTING EXPOSURE is the best protection from the illness.
- Persons meeting criteria for Ebola exposure and who are manifesting symptoms are not permitted in our building and will be provided with proper instructions for care based on our local county’s guidelines.
- Our clinical staff has received strict protocol training to respond to and assist those that meet Ebola exposure criteria.
- Our office is equipped with and is utilizing the most effective germicidal cleansers and sanitizers for the protection of our patients and Personal Protective Equipment for our staff’s protection.
- While answering an extra question or two when contacting our office may be momentarily inconvenient, we trust that you will agree that your protection and well-being is more important and worthy of our efforts.
- Our staff is committed to keeping you informed as the outlook for overcoming the Ebola virus in our country changes.