I attended a lecture last week by Andy Channelle of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on the subject of a social media campaign run by the organisation to spread awareness about Ebola by providing accurate information and raise funds for international response. The lecture got me thinking and I did some of my own research, so here’s me trying to do my own bit in helping spread a little awareness about the disease.

First and foremost, what is Ebola? It is a fatal virus disease that transmits from wild animals to humans, and spreads through human-to-human transmission. The virus is not air-borne and is not communicable by simple touch (contrary to popular belief). Instead, it can only infect someone who has come into contact with the bodily fluids of an ebola victim (alive or dead) and then touched their eyes, nose, mouth, or a cut (bitten fingernails count as well).

Symptoms: A high, sudden fever, extreme tiredness, headache, body pain and loss of appetite. Then, vomiting, diarrhea and a rash. In later phases there may also be internal or external bleeding. More of the symptoms can be found here.

There is no vaccine or cure for the disease at the moment, but the patients require frequent dehydration, oral rehydration, and nutrition, among other treatments.

The entire continent of Africa is not affected by Ebola. Countries in West Africa are affected, with the worst being Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Nigeria and Senegal have confirmed a small number of cases and USA has had three confirmed cases.

Donations can be made to help those in need through various organisations, some of which are:

  • IFRC: http://www.ifrc.org/ebola-crisis
  • Doctors without borders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola
  • Africare: http://www.africare.org/how-you-can-help/ebola-online-fundraising/
  • CDC: http://www.cdcfoundation.org/ebola-outbreak
  • Develop Africa: http://www.developafrica.org/ebola

And there are many more which can easily be found through some online research.

*All the information in this post has been compiled after extensive online research from trusted sources such as IFRC and BBC.

Image source: BBC (WHO data published 5 November)

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