Ebola Outbreak - Globailty Health Warning
Posted by Stephen Whitfield
Globailty health has released this free resource due to the recent outbreak of Ebola.
Due to the recent development of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we have to inform you that:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has formally declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and provided extensive recommendations to the governments of the affected countries to manage the situation, as the most recent figures reported are 1,711 cases and 932 deaths.
- Two countries, Sierra Leone and Liberia, have a national state of emergency and three cities, Gbakedou in Liberia and Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone, have been quarantined.
If you are located in an area of risk, please take note of the following measures for the affected region and inform any family members where necessary:
- All travel, whether for business, leisure or family visits, should be postponed wherever possible (including funerals), and measures should be taken to avoid all areas known to be affected by the epidemic.
- Business travellers and local employees who cannot postpone their trips due toessential work-related reasons (e.g. medical personnel involved in the management of the epidemic) should rigorously obey all recommendations on contact avoidance and any other recommendations related to their specific area of work.
- Expatriates whose presence is not essential in the country should either leave the country or delay their return should they already be abroad. Those required to stay in the country should rigorously obey all recommendations on contact avoidance and any other recommendations related to their specific area of work.
Generally speaking the following applies to all categories:
- It should be very clear that all emergency assistance services including air ambulance evacuation for conditions other than Ebola fever are still available, as most operators, other than EAA, have maintained services to those countries.
- It should be noted that major European carriers such as Air France and Brussels Airlines have maintained their services to the two affected countries named earlier, but some crew members are reluctant to fly, despite the low personal risk, and staffing flights may become an issue. Emirates have suspended their flights to Guinea and British Airways have done the same to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Any suspected patients should be immediately isolated. The fatality rate so far is between 60% and 90%.
A log of persons entering the area should be kept, restricting the number of caregivers.
No visitors are allowed and the relevant authorities must be contacted. The investigationwill include non-specific blood testing, including tests for malaria that can co-exist with Ebola, but specific serological testing is not readily available and it takes 24 to 48 hours to obtain results.
Patients, families and employers should be aware of the fact that should they become sick, the likelihood of being evacuated home is extremely unlikely as countries try to limit the spread of the disease by limiting the circulation of ill people and of the viruses they carry. At the time of writing, air ambulance companies have clearly indicated they will not transport anyone suspected of suffering from any haemorrhagic fever including Ebola fever, and public authorities in most countries of potential destinations, especially European countries with tropical medicine expertise, will not allow entry to such patients.Care will therefore be restricted to the country of occurrence, bearing in mind that no specific preventive or curative treatment exists. Repatriation cases reported in the media are exceptional and there should be no expectation in this regard.
- The recommended preventive measures include:
Avoiding all physical contact (including handshakes) with all people
Frequent hand washing with soap or alcohol based solutions
Not buying or eating bush meat
Avoiding contact with people who are sick and for whom Ebola fever has not been excluded as a diagnosis
For people in contact with the patients, avoidance of contact with the body or bodily fluids by wearing long gloves, masks, gowns and goggles or face shields is mandatory
The activities most at risk involve contact with sick or dead people or with animals.
Early symptoms include:
- Fever and chills
Joint and muscle aches
Sore throat and weakness
As the patient’s condition worsens he may experience:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
Severe weight loss
A measles like rash or bleeding from mucosae including the eyes
This health information guide was brought to you by Globality Health