The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is the largest since the disease was first discovered in 1976. To be sure, Ebola is a scary disease with no known vaccine or antidote and a very high fatality rate.

To put the Ebola epidemic into perspective, there are currently about 900 known cases in the world today. Most of those cases are in West Africa, but recently Thomas Duncan died of Ebola in Dallas. And at least two nurses became infected as they treated him. So now the disease has infiltrated our borders and you wonder, “Am I at risk?”

Obviously, we should take the threat of Ebola seriously. But let’s do so without irrational panic and exaggeration of what’s actually happening. And let’s learn what we can do to prevent contact with Ebola.

how ebola is transmittedAlready, many have forgotten that in recent months, two Americans survived the Ebola virus. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were helping treat Ebola patients in Liberia and were infected last July. Both were successfully treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Ms. Writebol urges us not to let “fear take hold of us.”

How Ebola is Transmitted

Researchers think that the original hosts of Ebola were fruit bats and that their feces from caves infected people with Ebola. Other mammals in Africa have also been infected with Ebola. The virus is spread to humans as people hunt and then handle the carcasses of those dead animals.

Ebola spreads from human to human by direct contact with any bodily fluid:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Saliva
  • Sweat
  • Feces
  • Vomit
  • Urine
  • Breast milk
  • And with any materials contaminated with those fluids

For instance, if an infected person leaves bodily fluid on anything he touches, then another person touching that item could become infected. Still, Ebola is far less transmittable than the common cold or flu so there isn’t any need to panic.

A person with the Ebola virus is not contagious until symptoms develop. For this reason, those at greatest risk are family members and healthcare providers of Ebola patients.

Once a person has recovered from Ebola, they are no longer contagious. However, the virus may be transmitted through semen for at least three months after recovery.

treating ebola includes-2Symptoms and Treatment

Due to the similarity between these Ebola symptoms and those of other common viruses, Ebola can be difficult to diagnose. In the current outbreak in West Africa, the fatality rate among those diagnosed with Ebola is about 50%.

So far, antiviral medications have not been effective in treating Ebola. Treatment usually includes:

Perhaps plasma from a recovered Ebola victim will provide antibodies to help other victims fight the disease.

What Can you do to Protect Yourself?

The greatest risk for contracting Ebola is with those who live, work or visit areas of known outbreaks and with healthcare providers or family of Ebola patients. If at all possible, avoid those areas.

Also, one of the key factors for surviving the Ebola virus is the strength of one’s immune system. We talk a lot about making healthy lifestyle choices in diet and exercise at Barton Publishing. But here are three more precautions you can take against Ebola right now:

  1. Wash your hands frequently. Hand-washing is one of the most important preventative measures with any infectious disease. Wash with soap and water or if those are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner with at least 60% alcohol.
  2. Take vitamin C. Vitamin C is very effective against viruses and we know that Ebola depletes vitamin C in the body.
  3. Take vitamin D. Vitamin D boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of dying from a viral infection.

Don’t let the media infect you with the “panic virus” and take reasonable precautions to protect yourself from Ebola. Meanwhile, let’s pray for a complete recovery for Amber Joy Vinson and Nina Pham, the two nurses who were recently infected with Ebola in Dallas.

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

Carolyn Kylstra, “Everything You Need to Know about the Ebola Virus Outbreak,” Prevention News, August 2014,
Andrea Mitchell, “American Ebola Survivor Nancy Writebol: Don’t Let ‘Fear Take Hold of Us,’” NBC News, October 13, 2014.
Rachael Rettner, “How Do People Survive Ebola?” Live Science, August 5, 2014,
Dr. Sircus, “Ebola – Saving Lives with Natural Allopathic Medicine,” August 4, 2014,