4 Facts about Communicable Diseases
Last month we talked about being Fit to Fly and Flying With Communicable Diseases. Just after those blogs were published, media coverage about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the possibly of it spreading into the states increased. In case you haven't been following recent news reports, there have been over 3700 confirmed cases of Ebola in 2014, most specifically in the countries of Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Recently, there were three Americans infected with Ebola while performing humanitarian work in West Africa. The three patients were medically transported back to the United States via specialized air ambulance for medical treatment in the first week of August.
Even though all necessary safety measures were taken during the medical transport and the three patients were quarantined in Serious Communicable Disease Units the thought of Ebola entering the US caused panic. These concerns proved to be unfounded as not a single new case of Ebola occurred as a result of their transport. In fact, there has yet to be a case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. and the initial two patients was discharged with a clean bill of health last week.
We wanted to write this blog to offer some more information on Ebola to hopefully decrease concerns. After all, knowledge is power!
What you need to know about Ebola:
1. The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids. It can also be transmitted via contaminated needles or infected fluids, but no airborne transmissions have been documented. The incubation period of Ebola is 2-21 days and there is no risk of transmission during that period.
2. Airlines have been screening passengers leaving West Africa for Ebola before they can board the plane. There are also some airports screening incoming passengers.
Symptoms include fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and in some cases, bleeding.
4. There have been more than 3,600 reported human cases and more than 2,200 deaths since the discovery of Ebola in 1976. In comparison, approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die from the flu each year.
You should avoid:
- Contact with blood or bodily fluids of a person or corpse infected with the Ebola virus.
- Contact with or handling of wild animals, alive or dead or their raw or undercooked meat.
- Having sexual intercourse with a sick person or a person recovering from EVD for at least 7 weeks.
- Having contact with any object, such as needles, that has been contaminated with blood or bodily fluids.
If you have been exposed to any of the previous or you have traveled to the affected areas and are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your health care professional immediately. While 'Ebola' and 'outbreak' are two words you never want to hear in the same sentence, the CDC, the WHO and other organizations are working diligently to stop the spread in and out-of West Africa. Just yesterday, the Gates Foundation pledged $50 million towards the fight on Ebola outbreak. And, while there have been multiple reports of suspected cases in the U.S. since the recent outbreak, Ebola has never been diagnosed on U.S. soil.
No matter where or when you are traveling, make sure you take precautions to stay healthy: wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with people who are visibly ill, take your vitamins, and stay hydrated!
For more travel safety tips or if you are in need of medical transport, visit our website or give us a call at 888-359-1911. You can also get your a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.