Health authorities monitoring deadly Ebola outbreak closely

POSTED: 08/3/14 10:16 PM

St. Maarten (DCOMM) – Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever said on Thursday that public health authorities at the Ministry of Public Health are closely monitoring the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, adding that Ebola does not pose an immediate threat to the country.

“We are being proactive and very vigilant and closely monitoring developments daily with respect to the advices from the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization and the Caribbean Public Health Agency,” Minister De Weever said.“Ebola does not pose a threat to the country, but we must monitor.”

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.

Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals. Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.

Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovery from illness.

For further information you should consult with your family physician or call CPS at telephone number: 542-3553, 542-2078.

 

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