Uganda Health Communication Alliance

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"Ebola fight continues"

Dec 08, 2014 Written by  Asaba Linda

A lot has been written about the disease with all countries setting up various measures on monitoring the entry and exit of different people as a way of controlling the spread of the disease. Most of us are still not aware of the several facts that revolve around the disease; Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. 

The Ebola virus has consumed enormous lives in West African countries of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal killing over 6,000 in a period of about 3 months. The virus further spread to USA, Germany, Spain, France Italy,UK, Norway and Switzerland.

The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in West Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas. 

Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization. 

Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development. There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation.

The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. 

There is need for us all to keep our eyes open and alert about the issues of  Ebola.

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