The outbreak began with just a handful of cases in Guinea in March. Since then, that number has grown to 909 confirmed cases and another 414 probable or suspected in that country, Sierra Leone and Liberia and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization. Some 729 people of the 1,323 total confirmed and possible infections have died, reports WHO as of July 27.
The WHO says "drastic action is needed" to contain Ebola, warning that previously undetected chains of transmission are boosting the numbers of sick and increasing the chances that the disease spreads from Africa.
"This epidemic is without precedent," said Bart Janssens, director of operations for Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders. "It's absolutely not under control, and the situation keeps worsening. ... There are many places where people are infected but we don't know about it."
While the disease is incurable, the good news is that it can be prevented. Yes...I stress that it can be prevented. You better take note of the following because it can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Avoid areas of known outbreaks. Before traveling to Africa, find out about current epidemics by checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Wash your hands frequently. As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren't available.
Avoid bush meat. In developing countries, avoid buying or eating the wild animals, including nonhuman primates, sold in local markets.
Avoid contact with infected people. In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person's body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. People with Ebola or Marburg are most contagious in the later stages of the disease.
Follow infection-control procedures. If you're a health care worker, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Dispose of needles and sterilize other instruments.
Don't handle remains. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola or Marburg disease are still contagious. Specially organized and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.
Do more research about Ebola and listen to the latest news about Ebola and overall, keep and stay safe.