Microbes, life forms too small to be seen by the unaided human eye, make our bodies their home and use it to live and reproduce. Among these microbes are viruses, more like machines than organisms, with only one purpose: to keep making more of themselves. Viruses inhabit living cells and use the cells’ machinery to reproduce, so the cells can’t work the way they’re supposed to. The results are generally horrible, and none more so than those of Zaire ebolavirus. Zaire ebolavirus can kill about 90% of the people it infects, though the current outbreak in West Africa has killed only about 65% of the confirmed cases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Ebola is transferred through contact with infected bodily fluids, even sweat, and people infected with Ebola must be isolated in a health care facility. Symptoms of Ebola include vomiting, diarrhea, and haemorrhage (losing blood through openings on the surface of the body). In spite of this, contact with infected bodily fluids is not hard to come by, and Ebola is quite easy for a healthy person to contract. In addition, Ebola has started making its way around the world, and nobody is really safe. Humans have no official pharmaceutical defense (vaccines, drugs, medicine, etc.) against Ebola, making Ebola the deadliest virus in the world to humans, even more so than the almost invariably fatal (if untreated) rabies virus since humans have developed effective vaccines and treatments for rabies.
So how can we avoid Ebola? It’s worth pointing out that Z. ebolavirus can be killed with soap, so wash your hands frequently. If someone diagnosed with or suspected to have Ebola has been on your property, the area should be professionally cleaned and disinfected. Everyone who’s been on the property since the infected individual should be tested for Ebola as symptoms do not appear immediately after infection and may have been contracted by a visitor or resident. Ebola has a horrifying reputation, and the results are very real. Nonetheless, if we all do our part, Ebola is unlikely to become a global pandemic (rapid infections and outbreaks all over the world). A YouTube video by TestTube puts this matter in clear perspective:
– Jared Martin