In February 2015, there were 22,859 cases of the deadly virus, Ebola. Even as many as 9,162 deaths caused by Ebola. This is a world public health emergency and is also expected by the world community to take precautions.
Possible prevention is to quarantine anyone who has traveled from a country suspected of having an Ebola case, refusing permission and closing and canceling the boundary of destination to the country with the Ebola case.
In addition, there is also a process that can be done is to take precautions to get used to washing hands before touching the face and also food. In this article, I will support you to maintain a healthy life by getting used to washing your hands.
Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees.
Ebola is caused by a viral infection. There are five types of Ebola that have been identified, even four of these virus species are known to cause and transmit disease in humans. These viruses include the Sudan Virus (Sudan ebolavirus), Ebola Virus (Zaire ebolavirus) then Forest Tai Virus (TAI Hutan ebolavirus) and also the Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth is the Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus) which can cause disease in primates, but cannot spread to humans. (Read: Should You Worry About Your Pet Has Ebola? )
The Ebola virus is found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, outbreaks have emerged sporadically in the African country. However, based on the same evidence and nature of the virus, researchers believe that this animal and bat-borne virus is the largest reservoir.
The Ebola virus is so deadly that even only direct contact between sufferers and other people can trigger infection with the Ebola virus. This is a threat to anyone who is close to Ebola sufferers. The biggest risk is those who work in hospitals, nurses, doctors and laboratory experts who may be infected with the Ebola virus if they do not use medical equipment according to the procedure.
Steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus are to clean hands as a self-protection procedure from the Ebola outbreak. This sounds easy, but it requires self-discipline to apply this hand washing habit.
Hand hygiene is the key to preventing the Ebola virus
Ebola is spread by an uninfected person coming into direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. Viruses in the blood and body fluids can enter the body through injured skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth. In most cases, it is thought that exposure occurs by touching the face with contaminated hands.
Hand hygiene is a major component of Standard Precautions which provides a basic level of patient safety and protection for health workers. The following are preventive steps by washing your hands when you take the following actions:
- Before wearing gloves and wearing PPE, enter the isolation room / area suspected of having an Ebola outbreak.
- Before any hygiene procedures associated with medical or sterile devices that are performed on the patient.
- After the risk of exposure or exposure to the patient’s blood and body fluids.
- After touching even potentially contaminated surfaces / items / equipment of the surrounding patient.
- After PPE removal, after leaving the treatment area.
Hand hygiene is intended to be carried out with alcohol / antiseptic based cleaners, soap and water, 0.05% mild chlorine solution. Suggestions and considerations for each method are described below.
1. Alcohol based Hand Sanitizer
Hands are the main way germs like Ebola are transmitted during health care, either between patients or from patients to health workers. Proper hand hygiene reduces the number of germs on the hands and limits the opportunity for spread.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a very appropriate method routinely in health settings. This is because of its ability to kill germs such as Ebola. It is even faster and easier to apply to the hands and also causes less roughness than the more frequent use of water and soap.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are designed for application by hand to reduce the number of microorganisms. Usually contains 60% to 95% ethanol or isopropanol. However, alcohol-based hand sanitizers should not be used when hands are visibly soiled with dirt, blood or other body fluids.
2. Soap and Water
Use soap and water when hands are visibly soiled with dirt, blood, or other body fluids and as an alternative to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Although antimicrobial soaps are frequently used in some health settings, they have not been shown to offer any benefit over washing hands with plain, non-antimicrobial soap and water. You are more advised to wash your hands using anti-bacterial soap which can kill germs faster than regular soap. This is in an effort to kill bacteria that stick to the hands.
3. Using a 0.05% chlorine solution
In a setting where no alcohol-based antiseptic or soap and water are available, a mild chlorine solution (0.05%) may be considered for hand hygiene. However, you should consider repeated use of the 0.05% chlorine solution for hand hygiene as it may cause skin irritation.
Diagnosing Ebola in people who have been infected for only a few days is difficult because initial symptoms, such as fever, are not specific to Ebola infection and are often seen in patients with more common illnesses, such as malaria and typhoid fever. However, if a person has early Ebola symptoms and has had contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola or contact with an infected animal, action to them is to isolate and notify local health workers. In addition, samples from patients suspected of being Ebola are then collected and tested to confirm infection.
The Ebola virus is detected in the blood after the onset of symptoms, especially fever, that accompany the patient. It can take up to three days after symptoms start for the virus to reach detectable levels. Laboratory tests used in the diagnosis include available infection diagnostic tests, examination a few days after symptoms start, Antigen-capture enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) testing, IgM ELISA, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), virus isolation, IgM and IgG, retrospective on deceased patients, immunohistochemical testing, PCR and also virus isolation.