The Ebola Epidemic

The recent unfolding of the flu has left many Australians confined to their beds in an attempt to recover and restrict the illness from spreading to others.  Luckily for us, influenza has a relatively low impact and we know how to treat it. Unfortunately this is not the case for residents in many West African countries.

The Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 2,400 lives since its outbreak earlier this year, with the fatality rate estimated to be at 60-90%.  The most recent Ebola outbreak is the worst in history; previously an outburst killed 280 people in 1976.  The World Health Organization has warned that within the next six months we will see 20,000 more people infected with the virus.  

The virus is spread through contact with bodily fluids of infected humans or animals with early symptoms of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat.  This can progress to vomiting, diahorrea, impaired kidney and liver function, and internal/external bleeding.  There is no specific ‘cure’ for Ebola, the current treatment being to isolate patients and provide health care support.

The risk of Ebola virus spreading to Australia is low, but there are a few things that those of us living in the South-Pacific can do to protect ourselves and help those in need.  We suggest that you make yourself aware of what Ebola is and how the virus is spread.  By making good personal hygiene practices a habit, your risk of spreading germs is reduced.  For your safety, RMS also strongly recommends that travelers avoid West African regions to restrict their exposure to this virus.
ADRA is currently working in Liberia and Sierra Leone providing support to Ebola victims and their families. If you wish to make a donation you can do so here.  
We continue to pray for the safety of the missionaries and health care workers in West Africa and that the Ebola epidemic will be contained.