What is Ebola?
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a haemorrhagic fever and is difficult to contract. The only way to catch it is to have direct contact with bodily fluids (vomit, sweat, blood, feces, urine or saliva) from someone that has Ebola and has begun showing symptoms. It does not pass through the air.
Currently nearly 6,000 people have been infected this year in West Africa with the main countries being Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Travel in and out of the countries currently affected is being discouraged and healthcare and aid workers must wear protected clothing, etc. to avoid exposure if in those countries.
Our modern public health system can manage diseases that travel through bodily fluids by isolating those that have contracted the disease or might have contracted it. You then establish who has been near them and those persons are screened. Anyone showing symptoms are isolated. Unfortunately not all health systems are modern and the current outbreak is concentrated in extremely poor countries with extremely weak health systems. Currently when Ebola has edged into countries with stronger health systems it’s been stopped cold and those countries have managed to stop the spread of the disease.
With proper containment procedures in place it is extremely unlikely that that Ebola will spread further beyond where it has currently been identified, therefore the risk in Ireland is currently very low. In addition there is no direct route from Ireland to the countries affected. Ireland already has a National Isolation Unit (NIU) in situ in Dublin and is the national referral centre for high risk suspected and confirmed cases of any serious infectious disease. For anyone that has recently travelled to West Africa they need to monitor their temperature, if their temperature rises above 38 degrees they need to seek urgent medical attention.
For more information please refer to the WHO website