Ebola Scare Grip Bamenda

Ebola Graphic courtesy CDC-USA

Ebola Graphic courtesy CDC-USA

Hundreds of Bamenda City dwellers have resulted to heavily consuming bitter cola while some have gone as far as bathing children with salty water and completely avoiding the consumption of bush meat and pork for fear of contracting the Ebola virus.

Rumours have been circulating in parts of the northwest of cases of Ebola victim found here and there, with some talking of confirmed cases in Mamfe and Douala.

'Whether these stories are true or not, I am not taking any chances. I will do what I need to do to protect my family' Lum Mary, a resident of Ntamulung said.

' I believe all these, beacuse my sister who is a nurse in Bafoussam said so' Nguh Sebastian a trader along the Comercial Avenue told me. Adding he nolonger eat pork talk less of bushmeat.

Andre Mama Fouda, Public Health Minister was on state media today to allay these fears. In a communiqué, he indicated unequivocally that no case of the deadly virus has been diagnosed in Cameroon. He went further to assure the population that a number of stringent measures have been put in place by the government to restrict movement of peoples especially those living in boarder areas.

On Monday, the government of the DR Congo handed to Cameroon 100 protective suits for health personnel in the event of a suspected case.

According to reports over state radio, the rumours originated from the Douala Laquintinie Hospital after a man of Chinese nationality took ill with a bout of malaria with symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting that immediately arouse suspicion amongst patients in the hospital.

The director of the hospital, Jean II Dissongo was quoted as saying that tests carried out on the patient proved negative.

Before this, text messages have been circulating amongst friends and family members in Bamenda warning them to avoid eating bush meat (from monkeys, chimpanzees and bats) and pork as potential sources of the Ebola virus quoting WHO website as source of the information. The messages go further to advice that people should eat enough bitter cola to prevent infection. The messages also called on the recipients to pass the messages on and should not complaint of communication credit and states ‘with 20 frs only dial *148*5# for 24 hours free sms’

                                    Ebola has fatality rate of up to 90%

According the World Health Organization, on its website (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/) Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) is a severe, often fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90%. It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.

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 dead or ill in the rainforest.

Once in a human host, the disease spread through human-to-human transmission, resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people. Burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Transmission via infected semen can occur up to seven weeks after clinical recovery.

Signs and symptoms

Ebola is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) varies between 2 to 21 days.

During Ebola outbreaks, the case-fatality rate has varied from outbreak to outbreak between 25% and 90%.

By Ako Emmanuel

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