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The word “Ebola” seems to be on the tip of practically every tongue globally!  More and more cases of the virulent killer are cropping up throughout the world, and now there are victims of this disease on these shores. The most-recent U.S. victim is Dr. Craig Spencer of New York City, who has some shaking in their boots as to how it is caught.  Here are some messy truths about Ebola, a virus that has a 50 to 90 percent fatality rate depending on its strain.

RELATED:  BREAKING: New York Officials: Doctor Has Ebola, 1st In City

Is Ebola easy to catch?

The disease is not easily transmissible, the virus’ bodily ports of entry are via cuts or abrasions on the skin and through the eyes, mouth, nose, throat, and reproductive organs (via intercourse).

How does someone catch Ebola?

People can also catch the virus by ingesting contaminated meat or by being exposed to animals that are carriers.

The virus can also remain contagious for several hours even in a dry state.  For example, someone sneezing in to his hand and then touching handles, door knobs, armrests, or ATM machine keys: If infected fluid remains wet and kept at room temperature, it can be infectious for days.

When is someone who has been stricken with the Ebola virus actually contagious?

When a victim begins to show symptoms they are medically categorized as contagious BUT these signs can take 2 to 21 days to show up.  The average incubation period is eight to 10 days, and during this time, patients are not contagious.

The signs of Ebola infection are fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat that are all symptoms quite similar to the flu or malaria.  The patient will then go on to experience vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

How can you confirm whether you have the Ebola virus?

Seeking medical care should be someone’s immediate route if they suspect they have been exposed to the Ebola virus.  Prompt medical attention is someone’s only chance of any possible survival from the virulent killer. Health professionals must quickly put in place safeguards in order to stem the spread of the disease, so alerting them quickly is your best bet.

What are the chances of surviving Ebola?

If someone seeks immediate medical care and has an otherwise healthy constitution, their chances are pretty good for beating Ebola.

However, it should be noted that if a male patient survives, the Ebola virus can remain in their semen for up to three months.

Regarding females, some doctors believe the virus can remain in vaginal fluid as well.

One of the benefits of surviving Ebola means that you are immune to it for at least 10 years BUT what is still yet-to-be researched is whether someone is protected from other strains of it. Some people who have recovered from Ebola have developed long-term complications, such as joint and vision problems.  There are four Ebola strains known to infect humans; the Zaire ebolavirus causing the current outbreak is the most-common.

Are there any commercial vaccines to safeguard against Ebola?

There are several Ebola vaccines in development.  The Canadian government has donated between 800 and 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO). The drug, called “VSV-EBOV,” is Canadian-made and owned and has been developed by the National Microbiology Laboratory, but it has yet to be tested on humans.  There is light at the end of this dark tunnel, however, the National Institute of Health (NIH) says a safety trial of an Ebola vaccine will start as early as September.

How do I protect myself against Ebola?

Employing top-notch sanitary methods is the best way to safeguard yourself against the Ebola virus.

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water, or the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a smart way to keep hands practically germ-free.
  • Steer clear of blood and bodily fluids of any person, especially sick ones!
  • Do not handle items that an infected person has touched.
  • Do not touch the body of a person who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.

Is there a cure for Ebola?

Currently, there is no cure for Ebola, however, there are medical treatment practices in place that have proven to be successful in saving a patient’s life.  Treatment includes an experimental serum that destroys infected cells.  Doctors then employ the following interventions to help combat the illness:

  • Intravenous fluids and balancing electrolytes (body salts)
  • Oxygen
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Blood transfusions
  • Treatment for other infections

RELATED: Ebola: Why Some Survive & Others Perish

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