There is not much awareness about the Ebola virus disease, but it is coming to our country also. There are not many cases reported cases but the threat can’t be negligible. A 25-year-old man from “Theni”, who arrived in Chennai by flight from Guinea, has been transferred to the isolation ward of the hospital. The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease, which can produce bleeding in sufferers and is capable of killing a large proportion of those who catch it, started in the west African nation of Guinea in December last year. It then spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone. Since the end of May, there has been an alarming surge in cases and deaths. Once people become ill, their bodily fluids can infect others, and they become more infectious as the illness progresses. The disease does not spread through the air like the flu; contact with fluids is necessary, usually through the eyes, nose, and mouth or cuts in the skin.
One drop of blood can harbour millions of viruses, and corpses become like virus bombs. As is often the case in Ebola outbreaks, no one knows how the first person got the disease or how the virus found its way to the region. The virus infects monkeys and apes, and some previous epidemics are thought to have begun when someone was exposed to blood while killing or butchering an infected animal. Cooking will destroy the virus, so the risk is not in eating the meat, but in handling it raw. Ebola is also thought to infect fruit bats without harming them, so the same risks apply to butchering bats. Some researchers also think that people might become infected by eating fruits or other uncooked foods contaminated by droppings from infected bats.
Researchers have requested all to avoid eating Non-veg. As we have seen many virus out breaks in the past such as SARS affected in China from poultry birds’ meat, Swine flu affected in Mexico from Pigs’ meat, and now Ebola from Bats’ meat. We humans have learnt no lessons from the past and still make the same mistakes, which may ruin the entire human civilisation. So, avoid eating meat. Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases is coming to India. Many unskilled Indians are working in Gulf countries doing some or the other job. Many African country workers too are working there. Indians are working in African countries too where this disease has erupted and is spreading. If one ‘infected with this disease’ person enters India, then it will spread like a wildfire. World Health Organization (WHO) has declared West Africa’s Ebola outbreak as an international health emergency, and called for global “solidarity” in the fight to stop the spread of the virus which has now claimed close to a thousand lives.
Some experts warn that the outbreak could destabilise governments in the region. It is already causing widespread panic and disruption. Guinea already announced that it had closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia in a bid to halt the virus’ spread. Doctors worry that deaths from malaria, dysentery and other diseases could shoot up as Ebola drains resources from weak health systems. Health care workers, already in short supply, have been hit hard by the outbreak: 145 have been infected and 80 of them have died. Past Ebola outbreaks have been snuffed out, often within a few months. It is partly a consequence of modernisation in Africa, and perhaps a warning that future outbreaks – which are inevitable – will pose tougher challenges. Unlike most previous outbreaks, which occurred in remote, localised spots, this one began in a border region where roads have been improved and people travel a lot. In this case, the disease was on the move before health officials even knew it had struck. Up till now, the current epidemic has been largely confined to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
However, a Liberian government official, who took a flight to Nigeria and died there, turned out to have had the disease. A doctor who treated the man as well as two other Nigerians appears to have caught the virus. Two American missionaries, one of them a doctor, who were looking after Ebola patients in Liberia and themselves became infected, have been flown back to the US for medical care. Meanwhile, there are reports from Morocco that an air traveller from Liberia who died there had the disease. A Saudi man has, on his return from Sierra Leone, been admitted to a hospital in the city of Jeddah with symptoms of the disease. There are five species of Ebola virus, four of which cause disease in humans. The one responsible for the ongoing outbreak in West Africa is the Zaire Ebola virus, which has the highest case-fatality rate (about 60 per cent to 90 per cent). There is, at present, no approved vaccine or drug for the disease.
The first Ebola virus outbreak occurred simultaneously in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Since then, there have been over a score of outbreaks, all of them in Africa. Fruit bats are believed to be the natural host for the virus. Rather, such large hemorrhagic fever virus outbreak almost invariably occurred in areas where the economy and public health system had been decimated by years of civil conflict or failed development, they pointed out. In a suspected case of the deadly Ebola virus, health officials detained and placed under observation a 25-year-old man who arrived from the Republic of Guinea at the Chennai Airport. He has been kept in the isolation ward of the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, where his health is being closely monitored by a team of doctors and staffs who have taken the precautionary measures recommended. Anyways, the Union Health Ministry has opened a 24-hour “Emergency Operation Centre” from August 9, 2014. The Indian government is maintaining intense surveillance to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country. A control room with helpline numbers 23063205, 23061469 and 23061302 got operational at the Health Ministry and it has dealt with 30 calls so far.
Please take care and be well informed.
Inputs sourced from various agencies