Control and Prevention of Ebola Virus Disease

As there is no effective treatment in absence of suitable antiviral antibiotics for ebola virus infection and in absence of effective human vaccine, it is important to prevent the EVD by making people aware of the disease and its mode of transmission and ways to prevent the disease from spreading from one person to another. It is important to make people aware about the risk factors and preventing measures required to contain the disease from spreading.

In the areas where ebola virus disease occurs or if there is an outbreak or epidemic, the awareness campaign should focus on:

  • Reducing contact with wild animals such as fruit bats or monkeys/apes. People should be advised not to consume raw meat of such animals. Any animal product (such as meat, blood or any raw animal product) should be cooked thoroughly before consumption.
  • If animal handling is necessary, suitable protective gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be used while handling.
  • Preventive awareness for human-to-human transmission, such as not to come in contact with infected individuals or their body fluids. Close physical contact with infected person should be avoided.
  • Sexual contact should be avoided for at least 7 weeks after recovery from the disease.
  • All aseptic precautions as well as some special precautions should be taken by health care workers while treating patients with ebola virus disease. All infected patients should be treated in hospitals only. If care has to be taken at home, gloves and protective clothing should be used and frequent hand washing with right antiseptic should be encouraged.
  • Communities affected by outbreak or epidemic of ebola virus disease should be informed about the ways to contain the disease from spreading and early and safe burial should be encouraged.

Pigs present in the epidemic areas can propagate the disease because fruit bats usually stay near pig farms. Appropriate measure should be taken to prevent the spread in these areas.

Human-to-human transmission of ebola virus usually occurs in healthcare setting due to contact with body fluids and blood, directly or indirectly. Any lack in aseptic precaution by healthcare workers can transmit the disease. It is usually not possible to identify the patients of ebola virus disease initially because of non-specific symptoms. Hence, it is important for all health care workers, especially in ebola endemic regions to apply aseptic precautions strictly.

Special precautions should be taken by healthcare workers while treating diagnosed cases of ebola virus disease, such as avoid any exposure to the patient’s blood and body fluids. When in close contact (within 1 meter from the patient) with the patient, healthcare worker must use protective equipment such as face protective shield, protective mask and goggles etc. Instead of usual apron, a long-sleeved gown along with gloves should be used.


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