EDITORIAL: CDC knows how to keep Ebola from spreading
Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, October 1, 2014
With the confirmation of the first imported case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States, the idea of becoming a hermit never looked so good. But, before you choose to go underground, let’s clear up a few misconceptions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there has been no evidence the Ebola virus can be spread via insect bites. The virus is transmitted by bodily fluids, either from animals or from people.
In the case of animals, butchering or eating infected animals can spread the virus. Scientists who have operated on infected animals have also contracted the virus. Waste products are another culprit. Tourists were exposed infected after coming into contact with the feces or urine of infected bats.
Infected people do not become contagious until they develop symptoms. The confirmed case in Dallas, Texas was a patient who had traveled to Texas from Liberia, West Africa. The patient did not show symptoms during travel. In fact, the symptoms appeared five days after arrival.
According to the Center for Disease Control, symptoms of the Ebola virus can appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure. The average is 8 to 10 days. Symptoms include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
Recovery from Ebola depends on your immune system. Those who recover, develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.
The 2014 West Africa outbreak of Ebola is the largest in history and the first that has affected several countries. The greatest reason for us to remain calm is timing. In the past decade, the United States had five imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola (1 Marburg, 4 Lassa), according to the CDC. None resulted in any transmission in the United States.
According to a news release issued from the CDC Tuesday, “We know how to stop Ebola’s further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill person, and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms.”