How not to get Ebola
How not to get Ebola

Recently, more and more we hear the news about new cases of the Ebola virus. How is Ebola spread? What are the symptoms? How to prevent infection with the Ebola virus?

Health columnist Sarah Boseley, reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian, answered the burning questions regarding the Ebola virus in her latest article.

How is Ebola spread?

"The Ebola virus is transmitted through the bodily fluids of seriously ill people," the article says. “A nurse who gets a patient's blood on her hands can wash it off with soap and water, avoiding negative consequences,” the author writes. “He / she will only get sick if they had a cut or scratch on their arm or if they touched their mouth, eyes or nose, thus allowing the virus to enter their bodily fluids.”

What are the symptoms?

The time it takes for symptoms to appear varies from 2 to 21 days, Boseley explains. “Usually the first sign is a fever, accompanied by headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, and severe muscle weakness,” the author says. - Then there is diarrhea, vomiting, rash and abdominal pain. Patients may have internal bleeding, ears, nose, eyes and mouth may bleed."

Can you get Ebola by touching the toilet seat?

“Yes: the feces of an Ebola patient pose a real risk, and the virus has also been found in urine,” Boseley replies.

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Is the virus sexually transmitted?

“Yes, the virus also remains in the semen of recovered people, possibly for another 90 days,” the article says.

Can I get Ebola by touching a doorknob that a patient has touched?

Yes, if the pen was stained with blood, vomit or feces, the journalist replies. "But if people don't have cuts on their skin, if they don't touch their eyes, nose or mouth and wash their hands often, they won't get infected."

What needs to be done in train stations, schools and other public places to prevent transmission of the disease?

Any area that looks contaminated on the outside, as well as toilets and surfaces that many people touch, "should be wiped with available wipes to remove all visible liquids, then scrub them with detergent or soap and water and wait until dry.", the article says. "Then they need to be disinfected with diluted bleach."

How long does the virus live?

The virus is fragile and easily destroyed by ultraviolet light, drying, high temperatures and disinfectants, Boseley explains.

Is the food safe?

“Yes, if it's not raw. The Ebola virus loses activity during the cooking process,”the journalist replies. However, it is possible to become infected by eating food prepared or served by an Ebola patient.

Is Ebola spread by air? Do I need to wear a mask?

"No. The virus is not airborne,”the article says.

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What if someone coughs or sneezes in my face?

The caregivers of the patient are at greatest risk of becoming infected in this way, but hopefully they will probably be wearing protective clothing, including a mask, the newspaper's correspondent notes.

Are protective suits such as those worn by astronauts to protect against the virus, given that some of the health workers they have been on have contracted Ebola?

“The costumes only work if they are used correctly,” the journalist explains. "There is a rigorous procedure for removing them in case the gloves and the outer part of the suit may be covered with the virus."Before workers remove their suits, they must be sprayed with a chlorine solution and must pass through a container filled with disinfectant.

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