Ebola. It's almost like the joke of 2014 . . . For a few months all you saw on Facebook were memes, jokes, and statuses making fun of this very serious and deadly disease.
The 2014 Ebola outbreak was the biggest in history. It affected many countries, ours included. Now it's back . . . sort of.
On Friday, (December 11, 2015,) Liberia had announced that the last of their last group of people that potentially have the disease had passed surveillance. Of course, the people were ready to celebrate. After over a year of dealing with Ebola, they could finally relax and go on with life. Now, just a few days later, there have been new reports of new cases of the disease in Liberia, Africa. Thankfully, the chance of another outbreak is very slim because we now have better ways to detect and prevent it.
There is no FDA-approved vaccine for Ebola.
So how can we prevent it? Here are some tips to stay safe (from the CDC.)
1. WASH YOUR HANDS! You should already be doing this, but if you don't, this is definitely the time to start. This isn't just to prevent ebola, but almost any other illness or virus out there. Use soap and water, or at least alcohol based hand sanitizer.
2. Try to avoid anything that someone infected has come in contact with. This includes clothes, beds, sheets, food, etc.
3. Here's an odd one. Avoid bats or anything non-human primates. Also avoid any food made with these animals! They could have the disease as well!
How can you tell if you have ebola? Here are some symptoms (also from the CDC.)
3. Muscle pain
8. Stomach pain
9. Unexplained bruising and bleeding
Looking in to this, I found some pretty interesting facts that I didn't know! Did you know you can't get ebola through water, air, or food grown and legally purchased in the U.S.?
The only way you can get ebola is from body fluids from someone who is sick with or has died from ebola, or infected bats, apes or monkeys!
Here is an image of what the virus looks like.
So it seems pretty weird how ebola appeared pretty much out of nowhere, right? It's like one day we're fine, and the next day everyone is infected. How does this happen? Well I looked in to it . . .
Patient Zero. This is what they called the first victim of ebola, a toddler from Meliandou village in Guinea, Africa. He died on December 6, 2013, and that one little boy started the outbreak. His sister, mother, grandmother, a nurse, and a village midwife had all died by February 2nd, 2014, which only left his father alive. After that it had spread to other villages. 6 villagers, which included a family member of the midwife from Meliandou, had died in a small village called Dandu Pombo between February 11th - March 31st. 3 deaths between March 9th - March 12th in a village called Gbandou. 8 deaths which included 2 people who attended the grandmother's funeral (from the first village) were recorded in a village called Dawa from January 26th - March 27th.
As you can see, it doesn't take a lot to start an outbreak. Starting with "Patient Zero" it only took 4 months to kill 23 people between 4 different villages, and had been escalating faster and faster ever since.
The disease detectives that traced the disease back to the toddler still are unsure of how he was infected.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading! I hope you learned something from this article because I know I sure did! Stay safe!
Author's Note: Sources: