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How Ebola works, and how to protect against it

Reporter: Susan Mwongeli 丨 CCTV.com

08-17-2014 05:00 BJT

Full coverage: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

New figures released by the World Health Organization show the Ebola virus is still spreading. As of Wednesday, there had been over 2,100 cases reported in four West African countries, with the death toll hitting 1,145.

In the midst of the fight to contain the outbreak, there has been a lot of disinformation about how the virus works. CCTV’s Susan Mwongeli tells us how the virus spreads, and how to protect against it.

Known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever.It causes severe bleeding, and in most cases death. And because of that, it causes panic whenever an outbreak is reported. Part of that includes a lot of disinformation.

Here’s how Ebola works. It’s believed the virus is transmitted from animals to humans. Human to human transmission takes place through contact with infected blood and other bodily fluids.

The incubation period is around 21 days. But some symptoms can appear 8 to 10 days after infection. These include flu-like symptoms like fever, severe headaches, muscle pain, and chills.

That’s followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, liver and kidney issues, sever weight loss, and internal and external bleeding.

So what are the risk factors? Those who come into close contact with the virus are usually health workers or family members. Once infected, victims are isolated and given fluids to stop dehydration. With no cure, early treatment is crucial.

But there are measures that can be taken to avoid the spread of the virus. Firstly, hygiene and disinfectant are crucial. Secondly, avoid bush meat and coming into contact with those already infected.

What needs to be highlighted, though, is how Ebola is NOT spread. According to America’s Centre for Disease Control, you cannot get Ebola through food, water, or air.

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