1 September 2012

East Africa: Ebola and Tanzania

While talking with students at the Zanzibar School of Health, there was a realization that more needed to be learned about Ebola.

The recent outbreak in western Uganda was putting a chill on the thought of vacationing in Arusha.

Although most people think more of vacationing at Zanzibar, there is often travel to Mount Kilimanjaro and the northern part of the country for safaris, but this part of the country is closer to the Uganda border.

Even though the outbreak is in the western part of Uganda, just the thought of Ebola is enough to bring some concern. So, what of the Ebola outbreak? What is the Ebola? According to the World Health Organization they define Ebola as the following:

Hemorrhagic fever is caused by the Ebola virus, a highly infectious, often fatal virus that spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids. Symptoms can include fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, bleeding from body openings.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals. So far, there is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines Ebola as, a severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees) that has appeared sporadically since its initial recognition in 1976. It is a virus borne disease that has five subtypes:

Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast, Ebola-Bundibugyo, and Ebola-Reston-found in non-humans.

In early August, the outbreak first was noted at a funeral in Uganda. The group, Doctors without Borders, was the first to describe it as Ebola. While efforts to contain it seemed to be successful, many have died.

The Associated Press reported that the "Uganda's president urged people to avoid unnecessary contact with each other and discouraged handshakes. Doctors Without Borders says that while that is good advice people without symptoms are not contagious, and avoiding contact with others' bodily fluids is the best way to limit an Ebola outbreak."

While there is no cure and there is uncertainty of what to do to prevent Ebola, these are the recommended steps to help prevent it.

• The use of infection-control measures, including complete sterilization of equipment

• The isolation of patients with Ebola hemorrhagic fever from contact with unprotected people

• The wearing of protective clothing, such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles.

While Ebola is not in Tanzania, it is key to remember to always take precaution. The health of the nation could be affected and so could your health and your health matters.

Copyright © 2012 Tanzania Daily News. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.