EVD, Africa's leading fatality

BY: Mary-Anne Isaac

The Ebola Virus-Disease (EVD) is Africa’s leading fatal virus infecting and killing numerous people without the hope of possible treatment or cures.

The widespread of this epidemic has alerted many nations in taking special precautions of preventing the contraction of this virus.  “There are no suspected cases of EVD at the moment in South Africa,” said Prof. Shabir Madhi, Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in recent media conference.

Two patients in South Africa, suspected of containing the virus were tested of EVD and have been cleared of all suspicion.  “Testing was done as a precaution matter and no trace of EVD was found,” declared Prof. Madhi. 

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is reportedly the most affected countries taking strain from this virus and even as South Africa stands a slim chance of infection, one needs to take the necessary precautions against the plague. “EVD has been contained,” added Prof. Madhi.  

An infection of EVD requires direct contact with the blood, secretions and organs of an infected person.  Even though, the contraction may be similar to that of HIV/AIDS, it is not comparable and has no means of treatment.

According to the World Health Organisation, EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests transmitting to people from wild animals, thereafter spreading to the human population through human-to-human transmission. It originates from fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family being the natural host.

“The incubation period after contracting this virus is 221 days and the early symptoms include fever, malaise, myalgia, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain as usual, followed by progressive multi-system disease with bleeding as a cardinal feature in the majority of patients,” reported Prof. Madhi.

EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90 % and could take up to days, weeks or months to reach the extent of its severity-killing one instantaneously. 

 “The risk of infection for travellers is generally low since most human infections result from direct contact with the body fluids or secretions of infected persons,” added Prof. Madhi.  Nevertheless, one should exercise special precautions when travelling to western parts of the African continent or any parts of the continent. 

W.H.O has not advised travel restrictions and said the best way forward is to avoid contact with EVD contaminated people. 

“There is a risk of EVD cases being imported into South Africa, but this risk is thought to be low,” said the minister of health, Aaron Motsoaledi.  South Africa has issued out various health instructions to hospitals across the country where infected persons would likely go and have secluded quarantines on standby.