What you need to know about Ebola

What you need to know about Ebola

Quarantine? Virus? Dogs? Keep up to date on all you need to know about the deadly disease.

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A medic wearing protective gear in a hospital in Madrid, Spain.
A medic wearing protective gear in a hospital in Madrid, Spain.
Photo: AP

Here are some facts about Ebola:

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a very dangerous sickness that has killed thousands of people in Africa.

Why should I care?

Apart from caring about people dying in Africa, you need to be alert because now the disease is spreading to other parts of the world.

Is it in Hong Kong?

No.

Can it get to Hong Kong?

Yes.

Will it get to Hong Kong?

We don't know, but there is a good chance.

Which countries have Ebola?

As of October 10, Ebola has been confirmed in: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria (now Ebola free), United States and Spain. It is suspected to be in Brazil.

Does everyone who gets Ebola die?

No. That is why it is important that people who are sick get a doctor's help as soon as possible.

Can we catch Ebola from our food?

Yes. This is why it is important to cook food properly and not eat food from places that are not looked after by the health and safety laws. But it is not likely to happen here, yet.

What does it look like when someone has it?

People who get Ebola look like they have one of many other illnesses, like a cold, flu or other fever. But then as it gets worse, patients will start vomiting and have a runny tummy. They may get a rash, have very red eyes or start to bleed from the eyes. Then, if they do not get any help, they may die.

When can you catch Ebola from someone?

Only when someone is showing signs of the disease. 

How does Ebola spread?

Through close contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, faeces, urine, saliva or semen, of someone who already shows signs of the disease. Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with dirty hands, or being splashed. That’s why health care workers wear protective gloves and other equipment.

The World Health Organization says blood, faeces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been taken from sweat.

What if you're just sitting next to someone who has it?

Ebola isn’t airborne. Dr Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said people don’t get the disease by sitting next to someone on the bus.

“This is not like flu. It’s not like measles, not like the common cold. It’s not as spreadable, it’s not as infectious as those conditions,” he added.

Why did officials kill the Spanish nurse's dog?

They were worried the dog would spread Ebola.

Can dogs spread it?

No one knows. No case of Ebola spreading between dogs and people has ever been recorded. But at least one study suggests dogs may be able to get Ebola without showing symptoms.

If someone has had Ebola, how can it be cleaned up?

Bleach and other hospital disinfectants kill Ebola. The dried virus on surfaces, like escalator handrails, or bus seats, survives only for several hours.

What happens when someone has Ebola?

They will be taken to hospital and put in a room on their own. Only people in heavy protective clothing and masks will be allowed near them. Their family and other people they have been near will be placed in quarantine.

What is quarantine?

This is when people are taken to somewhere away from everyone else. It stops them from spreading the disease. It is not prison or hospital, but people who break quarantine - that is leave the area and mix with others - can be in big trouble.

 

Learn more about Ebola here.

The Associated Press

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