The recent Ebola Outbreak has caused some health anxiety. However, the Public Health Agency of Canada has advised that the risk of an outbreak of Ebola in Canada is extremely low. Here are some quick facts about Ebola that will provide some clarification/understanding on this disease.
What is Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)?
Ebola virus disease or “Ebola” is a severe acute and often fatal viral illness characterized by sudden onset of fever > 38.0 degrees, malaise, myalgia, and severe headache, followed by pharyngitis, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, maculopapular rash. Hemorrhagic symptoms occur in about 50-60% of cases, often in the later stages of disease. The incubation period varies from 2 to 21 days. There is no risk of transmission during the incubation period.
How is Ebola Contracted?
The Ebola virus can be contracted by both humans and animals (primarily primates) and transmitted animal-to-animal, animal-to-human and human-to-human. It is not airborne meaning it cannot be transmitted simply by being in the same space as an infected person.
How is Ebola Spread?
Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected or deceased Ebola patient e.g., blood, stool, urine, vomitus, saliva and semen and/or contact with soiled clothing, bed linen or used needles associated with an Ebola patient. Ebola is not spread through air, water or food (except for bushmeat) or through casual contact. People do not transmit Ebola before they develop symptoms.
1) Avoid direct contact with blood, saliva, vomit, urine and other bodily fluids of people with EVD or unknown illnesses.
2) Avoid close contact with wild animals and avoid handling wild meat.
3) Know the symptoms of EVD and see a health care provider if they develop.
Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. Ebola Virus
Health Canada. Ebola Virus Disease
World Health Organization. Ebola Outbreak