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Published On: Fri, Oct 10th, 2014

Somalia: At risk with Ebola virus

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ebolaThe 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. Previously, known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, chimpanzees).

The virus is named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), where one of the first outbreaks occurred in 1976. Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa. However, on the basis of evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir. Four of the five virus strains occur in an animal host native to Africa.

The modes of Transmission

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

Symptoms of Ebola virus disease

The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools). Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

Controlling infection in health-care settings:

Health-care workers should always take standard precautions when caring for patients, regardless of their presumed diagnosis. These include basic hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, use of personal protective equipment (to block splashes or other contact with infected materials), safe injection practices and safe burial practices. Laboratory workers are also at risk. Samples taken from humans and animals for investigation of Ebola infection should be handled by trained staff and processed in suitably equipped laboratories.

Awareness campaign against Ebola virus

Notes about the deadly outbreak of Ebola had started to the capital city of Somalia by universities graduate students. These students are doing warning campaigns and writing notes against this virus from the public places in order to alert the risky of such disease which have no border. Thus, these notes indicate how the virus spreads and ways of preventing it as well as how to help the victims.

However, More than 3,800 people have dead  from Ebola virus in west Africa, health officials in east Africa and African union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) are taking special precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. No cases of Ebola have been reported in Somalia. But the countries are at particular risk for an outbreak of the disease due to frequent transcontinental flights into Mogadishu Nairobi, Kampala and Sierra Leone being one of the AMISOM troops contributing countries.

Therefore, it is necessary for the government to start putting in place stringent measures to prevent Ebola entering the country.  Because, Ebola has spread in countries those troops are present in Somalia. The troops could potentially bring the disease from those countries if they are deployed while the outbreak is ongoing.

Finally, President Hassan reassured his people that the government will take the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus very seriously while speaking in Washington DC.

 

‘We are very concerned about the outbreak of Ebola in west Africa. I want to reassure Somalis that there is very large distance that Ebola would need to travel to reach Somalia’

 

Hassan mudane

Researcher/political commentator

Mudanep5@gmail.com

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