By Olamide Udoma
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We have all read countless articles online and in newspapers and watched continuous reports on news channels about the virus that is affecting West Africa, specifically Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. There is no need to regurgitate what has been broadcasted to the world, the information is everywhere and free for all.
However, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) is spreading (2240 cases and 1229 deaths (WHO, 16.08.14)) and we must all play our part. information and knowledge is key to ensure people in the four reported countries affected understand how to protect themselves and prevent further spread of the virus. So far technology and traditional marketing tools have been used to spread the word.
The virus which started in December 2013, spread to Lagos less than a month ago. The Nigerian media has reported three suspected cases, twelve confirmed cases, and four dead. It seems to be contained in Lagos but with a city of over 17.5 million people prevention is the only way to ensure suppression.
Recommendations/Information from WHO (World Health Organisation):
- Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
- EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
- The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.
- Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community arising from direct or close contact with infected patients, particularly with their bodily fluids. Close physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home. Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home.
- When in close contact (within 1 metre) of patients with EBV, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).