Peter Piot is the name of the scientist who discovered this deadly virus which affected a Catholic nun in Zaire, Africa (the present Republic of Congo) way back in 1976.
The people infected with the virus will suffer from yellow fever. And the virus is highly dangerous and epidemic.
Ebola is part of a small group of viruses that kills infected people within a couple of weeks. It has a very high mortality, much like rabies.
There are four types of Ebola virus that infect humans. The most deadly is this strain from the current epidemic, known as the ‘Zaire strain’
The Outbreak of it can be really dangerous, because it can disrupt entire societies, not only because of the deaths, but also hospitals stop functioning, commerce comes to a halt and then there’s the panic and fear.
Ebola outbreaks happen in a context of poverty, dysfunctional health services with poor infection control and hygiene practices. If someone with Ebola is admitted to such an environment anywhere in the world that will give rise to outbreaks.
The virus can only be transmitted in two ways: through close contact with someone who is ill from Ebola, and through contaminated needles and injections.
How can we control the Outbreak?
1) By not re-using needles and syringes is something health officials have to follow.
2) To control the spread, we should isolate patients, in what they call barrier nursing, so that healthcare workers don’t become infected.
3) Surveillance of all people who have had contact with Ebola patients should be carried out.
4) Ensuring safe burial practices or safe preparation of the body for funeral is critical, as coming in to contact with the contaminated body of someone who has died from Ebola is how many people become infected.
This all requires a strong community engagement, listening to people and making sure that local leaders are involved in the response.
India has already started checking passengers for Ebola symptoms in its airports.
However alongside what we can do is make aware of this disease and its effects to everyone.
It is highly unlikely that person infected with Ebola in the period between 2-8 days can’t travel to another country as he would be too sick.
The critical thing is to make sure that when you see a patient with the early symptoms of Ebola (like fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, which are so common), is to check the travel history of the person. This should be done by health officials in India. If the patient’s answer is that they’ve just come from an infected country, such as Sierra Leone, then we have to be really alert. That patient should be referred to specialized units where they can deal with highly contagious diseases.
Healthcare workers and anybody who cares for a sick patient, such as relatives, are at risk of getting infected. Another risk is for those people attending funerals of the victims or involved with the preparation of the dead bodies for burial.
Make Everyone Aware of it, spreading this could save lives of many.