How to Stop the Spread of the Ebola Virus
With no known cure or vaccine approved for human use yet, the main proponents of an emergency management campaign to stop the spread of the Ebola virus include isolation, sterilization, and education.
It’s vital that those with Ebola are isolated from the rest of the community once as soon as possible. This can be especially tricky since symptoms may not appear for 2-3 weeks after contracting the virus, and the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for a number of other illnesses.
Once isolated, it’s very important that healthcare officials in contact with the infected wear all the appropriate protective equipment (gloves, masks, etc) and that all medical equipment is properly sanitized and disposed of. Nurses are amongst the most likely to get the virus, so keeping them safe will go far in containing the disease.
Perhaps the most important way to manage an ebola outbreak is through education. The virus is often transmitted from person-to-person because of a lack of knowledge to how the disease works or a lack of resources to properly treat many patients. Currently, there are few impediments to containing Ebola that education could help overcome. In the parts of Africa where Ebola can thrive, sharing needles amongst patients is an unfortunate reality and facilities are not often kept as disinfected as possible.
Since there is no treatment for Ebola, a hospital stay is often just seen as a place to wait and die. Some families do not want to see such a thing happen to their relatives and will hide them until its too late to contain (countries are beginning to make this a crime). Traditional burial ceremonies often involve handling and cleaning of the body, which leads to an increased likelihood of the virus spreading. It’s unfortunate, but in order to stop the spread of the disease, behavioral modification education is a necessity for the areas impacted. Educating responders and citizens about the disease will help keep it from spreading.
Steps are currently being taken in airports to screen all passengers for fevers and to keep them off flights until Ebola has been ruled out. It’s a great start to ensure the virus stays contained.