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SproutNews: 14/10/14 - Ebola Outbreak Special

Posted by simdude101 (correspondent) from Cardiff - Published on 15/10/2014 at 11:36
0 comments » - Tagged as Health, Topical

  • Ebola in Guinea
  • Ebola Virus

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Hello and welcome to today's SproutNews. This SproutNews will focus on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, how it spreads, the possibility of it reaching Britain, and its symptoms.

Over 4000 people have already died in the current outbreak, mainly in West Africa. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has warned that the epidemic could lead to the collapse of states and societies. Countries worst affected include: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. There have been a handful of cases outside of Africa but these have all been transmitted to people who had been to these countries and contracted it there before going home, or health workers treating Ebola patients outside of Africa. One such case is the Spanish nurse, Teresa Romero. Teresa was treating a Spanish priest who contracted the disease in West Africa and was being treated in a hospital in Madrid. She admits that the disease may have been spread to her body when she accidentally touched her face with the glove she was wearing when she was treating the priest, who later died. She is currently in hospital, in a critical condition, but is showing signs of improvement. The only other case outside of West Africa appeared in Dallas, Texas in the USA. Thomas Duncan was in West Africa when he contracted the disease but only displayed symptoms one week after he returned to US soil. He passed away last week in hospital. A UN worker has died in a hospital in Germany after contracting the disease in West Africa and being taken to Germany for treatment.


Ebola is transmitted by contact with bodily fluids. These includes faeces, saliva and urine. These fluids can be transmitted in a few ways, including: coughing, vomiting, and in blood. To minimise the risk of catching the virus, it is best to keep away from people who have either been to West Africa recently or who have treated confirmed Ebola cases. The fact that contact with bodily fluids is needed to spread the disease means it is very hard to catch, but in Africa, where hygiene is much worse than in Europe, the chance of transmission is much more likely. Some people are claiming that the virus is in fact airborne, however, it is NOT. All results show that the disease cannot spread through the air.


The symptoms of Ebola are very similar to other diseases, which makes it harder to identify. It shares symptoms with simple illnesses, such as the common cold and flu. The symptoms, however, are not subtle. It can take any time between two and 21 days after coming into contact with the virus for symptoms to show. The symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Pain
  • Sore Throat
  • Rash
  • Bleeding, internally and externally

If you have one or more of these symptoms, a trip to the local GP may be worth a thought, but it is more than likely to be a much less deadly virus than Ebola, so there is no need to worry.


Ebola is unlikely to reach Britain, and even if it does, Public Health England has reassured the public that it would only be a handful of cases, as the infected would immediately be put into isolation to stop the spread of the disease. Whilst the outbreak is serious in West Africa, it is unlikely to spread in the UK and Europe, as our isolation and communication systems are much better.


Screening has started in main airports in the US and UK, and also at Eurostar terminals. This is to identify possible cases before the infected enter Britain. Officials say this will not make much of a difference as anyone displaying symptoms on arrival will more than likely have been displaying them when they departed the affected countries, where screening is already taking place. Also, the NHS (National Health Service) have had a simulation exercise, practicing what they should do in the case of an Ebola patient in the UK.


No. Unless you have visited an affected country recently, or have been in contact with a confirmed Ebola patient, the risk of you contracting the disease is very low.

My overall message is, keep alert, keep on guard, but don't stress too much. As long as you are sensible, the risk of you contracting the disease is really, very low. Keep tuned for updates.

That's all Sprouters, until next time.

Image Credits: Ebola in Guinea (EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection), Ebola Virus (NIAID) via compfight cc

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