The Ebola Outbreak that has left at least 59 people dead in Guinea has people in the United States and other countries questioning if it can happen to them.
The answer — though complex — is yes.
However, for practical purposes, it appears that those living in more civilized countries are much, much less likely to be exposed to an Ebola outbreak than those in Guinea and other African countries where there have been recent incidents of Ebola outbreak.
Before you try to understand if an Ebola outbreak could affect you where you live, perhaps it first is best to explain what Ebola is.
According to a report from CNN, researchers believe that a person first comes into contact with Ebola if he handles a dead or a sick animal — like monkeys or antelopes — that have been infected with the disease. If someone contracts Ebola, he or she becomes contagious and can spread the disease to others. This is what causes an Ebola outbreak.
What Are the Symptoms?
Ebola seems to be pretty similar to the flu at the start. This afflicted have a sudden high fever, muscle pain, and sore throats. However, an outbreak of Ebola causes those who have been infected to have bloody diarrhea, start vomiting, get red eyes and bleed from the nose or gums.
An Ebola outbreak is particularly scary because there is no cure and there is no vaccine.
Can It Spread to the United States or Other Civilized Countries?
Like we mentioned above, the answer is yes, but this don’t mean that you should live in fear of contracting the disease. The first transmission of Ebola to the United States happened when research monkeys that were infected with Ebola were imported to the country.
Six years ago, two tourists traveling in Uganda were infected with Marburg hemorrhagic fever — a disease very much like Ebola. Upon returning to their home countries, proper precautions were taken to limit the possibility of an outbreak. One tourist died, while the other survived.
When Will It End?
Certainly health officials in Guinea and other locations will be on high alert now that it is known that there is an Ebola outbreak that is threatening people’s health. According to the World Health Organization, the outbreak period would be considered to be over in about 42 days.
Given that this newest Ebola outbreak has just hit, it is hard to say how soon this one will be over.
Image via UN.org