Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever (fever that comes with bleeding) that is for the most part very scary, especially given the fact that it has an outstanding death rate of up to 60 percent and has very horrible effects to the body of a human being. Over the years, since its discovery, many myths and misconception about the disease have popped up and, have further heightened and sent everyone into a frenzy for fear of the deadly virus. In this article, we will have a look at some of the myths and beliefs that are wrongly being upheld about Ebola by quite a large number of people over the years.
1. Ebola virus can be transmitted through air as well as water (i.e. it is airborne as well as waterborne).
This could not be any further from the truth. The Ebola virus can only be transmitted and spread through bodily fluids or by consuming meat from an infected bat or any primate that is not cooked properly. When someone comes into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person such as blood, urine sweat and semen and even in some cases, saliva, they can contract Ebola disease. However, there are no records of the disease being transmitted through air or even through water.
2. Ebola is a virus that morphs quickly and it could therefore eventually become airborne
A very important fact to note about the Ebola virus is that unlike other viruses that are known to man, it does not change as fast as we might be tempted to think and as a result, the possibility of it mutating and becoming airborne eventually is a very far-fetched myth.
3. There is a shortage of cure and vaccines meant for Ebola.
To be honest, there are no licensed drugs or vaccines that could cure the Ebola virus. However, there is currently an experimental serum known as ZMAPP that could in the future, act as a vaccine or even a cure. However, far from that, patients who contract the disease have to be taken care of and watched closely and the patient’s system supported and rehydrated as the case may be. So in essence, it is not wrong to attribute survival of Ebola-infected people to quality supportive treatment.
4. Ebola can be treated with antibiotics
Ebola is caused by a virus and not a bacteria. As such, there is no antibiotic that can cure the disease as they are meant to cure diseases caused by bacteria. In addition, onions, condensed milk and mangoes cannot do the trick either.
5. Death is a sure thing for those who contract the disease.
While there is no sure cure for the disease at the moment, contracting the disease does not necessarily mean that one has to die. Yes, the death rate is 60% and in some cases up to 90% but this is not 100% – is it? With intensive support and care, one can survive, live through the disease and tell the tale.
6. Ebola turns your internal organ to liquid leading to bleeding through the orifices.
The above statement is not entirely true. While Ebola symptoms may include bleeding from the nose, ears, eyes mouth and practically any orifice, this does not happen to about 80% of the patients. And most importantly, the virus does not liquefy the internal organs. It, however, leads to multiple organ shock and failure which leads to death. The organ failure is as a result of the organs not receiving sufficient supply of blood as a result of weakened blood vessels.
7. Even after getting cured of Ebola one can still pass it on.
The truth of the matter is that only the people who show signs and symptoms of the disease can spread the disease. Therefore after being cured of the disease, one is not able to pass the virus to other people as they do not have the virus in them anymore. However, it should be noted that a man who is cured of the Ebola virus can still spread it to other people through his semen for a period of 7 weeks after his recovery.
8. Medical teams are the ones responsible for the outbreak of Ebola in Africa
With the recent outbreak of Ebola in the Western part of Africa, there have been claims that medical teams are responsible for the outbreak of the virus. This could not be any further from the truth. The Ebola virus resides in bats. However, despite the fact that bats are the natural habitat for the virus, primates can still get infected and humans can contract the virus from handling the infected primates.
9. Ebola is the deadliest disease there is.
Well, it is true that the disease could be very deadly, however, it is only a myth that it is the deadliest. There are far more ruthless diseases that have claimed more lives all over the world than Ebola.
10. This is the first major Ebola outbreak
The latest outbreak sweeping across West Africa is not the first major outbreak. Since it was first diagnosed in the year 1976, there have been several outbreaks in various parts of the world such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea.