Ebola is a disease caused by a deadly viral infection, which can cause fever, diarrhea, and bleeding in the body of the sufferer. Only 10% of Ebola survivors of this virus infection, but this disease is rare.
However, vigilance and prevention measures against diseases that plague the African continent still need to be done. One way is to maintain cleanliness and implement a healthy lifestyle every day.
The spread of the Ebola virus is thought to originate from interactions between humans and infected animals, such as bats, monkeys, or chimpanzees. Since then, transmission of the virus began to occur between humans. Patients’ blood or body fluids can enter other people’s bodies through wounds to the skin or inner lining of the nose, mouth and rectum. The body fluids in question are saliva, vomiting, sweat, breast milk, urine, feces, and semen.
The Ebola virus can also be transmitted through contact with objects that have been contaminated with body fluids, such as clothing, sheets, bandages, and syringes. However, Ebola is not transmitted through the air, or mosquito bites. Ebola sufferers also cannot transmit the virus to others until symptoms of the disease appear.
Several factors cause a person at risk of contracting the Ebola virus, namely:
- Traveling to countries that have Ebola cases, such as Sudan, Congo, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
- Medical personnel, at risk of infection, if they do not wear protective clothing when treating Ebola patients.
- Family members who live at home with sufferers are at risk of contracting when caring for sufferers
- Animal researchers, at risk of infection with the Ebola virus, especially when researching primates imported from Africa.
- Preparing for the funeral of the Ebola victim. The body of an Ebola patient is still at risk of transmitting. The funeral process should be left to those who have been specially trained to deal with the bodies of Ebola sufferers.
The initial symptoms of Ebola are fever, headache, chills, muscle and joint pain, and the body feels weak. These early symptoms appear within 2-21 days after contact with the patient. Over time, the symptoms will get worse, including:
- Skin rashes appear.
- Sore throat.
- Chest pain.
- Gastric pains.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Diarrhea, can be accompanied by blood.
- Drastic weight loss.
- Blood comes out through the mouth, nose, eyes or ears.
Transmission of the Ebola virus occurs very quickly and is deadly. If you or a family member you experience these symptoms, immediately visit the nearest hospital to undergo examination and get treatment.
Ebola is a disease that is difficult to detect because the symptoms that appear are almost similar to other infectious diseases, such as flu, malaria or typhus. In diagnosing Ebola, the doctor will do a blood test to detect antibodies formed by the body in response to the Ebola virus. Blood tests are also done to see the function of the body that is disturbed due to Ebola, such as:
- Blood cell count
- Liver function
- Blood clotting function
If it is suspected to be infected with the Ebola virus, the patient will undergo intensive treatment in a hospital isolation room to prevent the spread of the virus.
The treatment steps taken are only aimed at controlling symptoms and helping the patient’s immune system fight the virus. This is because drugs to deal with the Ebola virus have not been found until now. Some supporting treatment measures that can be done, namely:
- Fluid infusion to prevent dehydration.
- High blood pressure medications to reduce blood pressure.
- Additional oxygen to maintain the flow of oxygen throughout the body.
- Blood transfusion, if there is a lack of blood (anemia).
Ebola sufferers will undergo a recovery period of several months, until the virus disappears. In the recovery period, sufferers will experience:
- Hair loss
- Nerve disorders
- Excessive fatigue
- Inflammation of the eyes and testicles
The patient’s recovery will depend on the immune system, how quickly the treatment is carried out, and the response to treatment. Patients who recover will be immune to this virus for approximately 10 years.
Each patient has a different immune system response to the Ebola virus. Some sufferers can recover from Ebola without complications, but some can experience life-threatening conditions, such as:
- Heavy bleeding
- Failure of the functioning of body organs
A vaccine to prevent Ebola has not been found until now. The best way to prevent Ebola is not to travel to countries or regions that have a history of Ebola. But if you plan to travel to a country that has an Ebola case, there are several steps you can take, namely:
- Keep your hands clean by washing your hands with water and soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Avoid direct contact with people who have a fever and are suspected of having Ebola symptoms.
- Avoid touching objects that have been contaminated with blood or body fluids with Ebola sufferers
- Avoid direct contact with bats and primates that have the potential to transmit viruses, including blood, feces, and meat.
- Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients undergo treatment.
- Immediately consult a doctor after returning from the area, to detect possible Ebola symptoms.
Specifically for medical staff, several preventative steps can be taken to minimize the risk of Ebola virus transmission, namely:
- Use personal protective equipment, including protective clothing (apron), masks, gloves, and eye protection, when you are around Ebola sufferers.
- Be careful when taking blood or body fluid samples, and putting an IV or catheter on
- Always wash your hands, especially after touching the patient or objects around the patient.
- Dispose of disposable medical equipment immediately, such as syringes, to the designated place.
- Avoid direct contact with the body of an Ebola sufferer.