The phrase “Prevention is better than a cure” could not be more true when no known cure is available. Some basic preventative steps can and should be taken to prevent contracting Ebola.
- Do not travel to outbreak countries unless absolutely required
- Avoid known outbreak areas
- Adhere to basic hygiene, wash your hands often
- Avoid physical contact with infected persons
- Do not under any circumstances handle remains of infected people
- Do not consume “Bush Meat”
- Do not handle items that may of have been handled by an Ebola patient
- Wear protective attire if you must be near an infected individual
- Do not visit hospitals where Ebola is being treated
- After visiting an infected area or person monitor your health for 3 weeks
- Maintain good general health and diet to maintain a healthy immune system
The fact is that Doctors and scientists are still unclear on the exact methods of infection and as such broad protective measures are suggested. At this stage Ebola has not been confirmed as airborne however it is able to survive outside the host for long periods of time while contained in bodily fluids.
Vaccines are currently being researched by several companies and many show great promise. However, human trials have not yet been done on these vaccines and their efficacy in human hosts is unclear. The side effects of these vaccines are also unclear although given the mortality rate of Ebola there is a good chance that the side effects will be an acceptable trade off.
The CDC and WHO have collaborated to create a manual for control and prevention and although it was created in 1998 it remains relevant and a worthwhile read if you are near an infection zone or work with infected people. The Infection Control manual is available on the CDC website in other languages.