Every parent’s worst nightmare?
This week, the Center for Disease Control confirmed the first case of the Ebola Virus diagnosed in the United States – in Dallas, Texas.
The virus has been making headlines for wreaking havoc on West Africa. It has claimed over 3,000 lives so far, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down.
So far, the CDC has identified 100 people who have come into contact with the infected individual – 5 of whom are children in Dallas Independent School District.
As the numbers of those who could possibly be infected continues to rise, many of us are thrown into a panic. We want to know: what is this disease and how can I protect myself and my loved ones? What if I am diagnosed? What if there is an outbreak?
So before we spiral into the misery of ‘what if’s…’ let’s evaluate the information we have on Ebola Virus and take the appropriate steps to prevent an outbreak.
What is the Ebola Virus?
Ebola Virus Disease is a serious, life threatening disease. Experts believe it originated in Africa through human contact with infected animals. There have been sporadic outbreaks of the disease in Africa throughout the past few decades, and this outbreak is the first one to be classified as an epidemic.
According to the World Health Organization, the death rate for Ebola is 50%. However, these statistics include a large number of impoverished countries who are not equipped to isolate and treat the disease properly.
What are the signs?
The signs and symptoms of Ebola (according to the CDC):
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
An individual is only contagious when they begin to exhibit symptoms of the disease. These symptoms will begin 2-21 days after becoming infected.
How can I get Ebola Virus Disease?
Ebola Virus Disease is spread through contact with blood or bodily fluids with someone who is infected. Ebola is not transmitted through the air!
Are my family and I at risk?
Experts suggest the chance of an outbreak in America is extremely slim. The CDC is taking every measure to ensure every person who could have possible come into contact with the virus is being closely monitored. Even if you came into contact with someone who was infected, it would take exchanging bodily fluids with that individual for you to get Ebola.
In addition, our hospital systems are more equipped to treat the disease.
“Ebola can be scary. But there’s all the difference in the world between the U.S. and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals who will make sure this case does not threaten our communities,” said CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
What can I do?
If you or someone you know is showing signs of Ebola, don’t hesitate to see a medical professional. Continue to practice good health and hygiene.
The Ebola Virus Disease doesn’t have to give parents nightmares. Staying up-to-date on the latest in health news will keep you informed, empowered, and free from the panic that comes with misinformation. As always, check the Urgent Care for Kids blog every week to see what’s new in health news!