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Ebola virus in Jamaica; what are public health officials doing?

 With the recent chaos on the media about the deadly Ebola virus, many Jamaicans seemingly are concerned with the lack of information and surveillance being conducted by the public health officials in our island. For this reason the Jamaica Health Tips Online team has seen the need to provide information to our fellow Jamaicans and the world that will help you better understand this disease.

 Ebola as outlined on the CDC website is a rare and deadly disease, it is known to affect humans and non-human primates for example; Monkey, Gorillas and Chimpanzees. There are presently five identified strains of the Ebola virus; Zaire, Sudan, Cote d’lvoire, Bundibugyo and the Reston (in non-human primates but not in humans).

 The first case of Ebola occurs in Southern Sudan in 1976 in a cotton factory. As reported by Dr Don Francis in a presentation at the University of Berkeley, California, he believes that the cotton was contaminated by urine of fruit bats in the area. As of August 8, 2014 it has been reported by several sources that there are over 3000 confirm cases with over 1000 deaths in the West Africa area.

Transmission Mode

  •  Human to human varies from; direct contact through broken skin  for example saliva, urine, vomit, blood and semen of an infected person) or through unprotected mucous membranes such as; eyes nose or mouth. Objects (like needles or syringe) used by infected person.
  • Butchering of animals infected with the Ebola virus.

The primary host is believed to be the fruit bats which infect other animals and by extension humans through butchering and the consumption of animals for food (bush meat).

Persons at high risk

  •  Health care providers e.g. nurses and doctors.
  •  Butchers
  •  Family and friends who are caring for infected persons.
  •   Funeral home workers.

Signs and Symptoms
  Fever, headache, chest pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, dry painful throat, rash, bleeding from the ear,eyes, nose and mouth, malanea (black tarry faeces) and desquamation (skin peeling). The symptoms may appear within 2-21 days after exposure, but on average 8-10 days.  

Prevention and Control 
  Practice careful hygiene, avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling of infected bodies, avoid contacts with bats, and infected animals and humans, education of the public and proper training of health care providers, isolation of infected persons, constant re-hydration of patient(s) maintenance of oxygen and blood pressure status in patient(s) and an active quarantine and surveillance system.

 There is no known vaccine or medicine to treat the Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever. However, several patients have recovered from their illness by just treating any opportunistic illness and maintaining patient(s) electrolytes, oxygen and blood pressure level. 

Do you think Jamaican public health officials are prepared for the Ebola virus?
Source: CDC website and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCM3HWsIbDE  The 2014 Ebola Outbreak: Update on an Unprecedented Public Health Event .

8 Comments to Ebola virus in Jamaica; what are public health officials doing?:

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Desnardo Whyte on Thursday, October 02, 2014 8:05 AM
It is very sad to see the number of deaths due to the Ebola virus, but what is more worrying is the fact that we as Jamaicans don't realized how at risk we are. the world is behind each of us back door and someone can unknowingly carry the virus here. Imagine the chaos and mass death & burial would occur.
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Loura Chong Reid on Saturday, October 04, 2014 4:24 PM
Hey Desnardo we here at JHTO do appreciate your comment and hope you visit again. With that said however, your comment is one I believe all Jamaicans need to take into consideration but more so our Prime Minister and health officials. Seeing that this disease has such a high death rate why isn't there much more being done by the heads of office to educate the population?
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Fist Aid for bleeding on Friday, November 28, 2014 11:55 AM
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Donnalee on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 8:31 AM
Ebola, frightening, since there is yet an available vaccine...
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k on Thursday, March 19, 2015 9:11 PM
it was very interesting to read about this very important health issue. i will definitely use the info
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Loura Chong Reid on Thursday, March 19, 2015 9:21 PM
Thanks K and we are happy you found this info valuable, hope you will visit again.

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