Wednesday, 30 July 2014

S3x, Kissing, Shared Needles Can Give The Deadly Ebola Virus

That Ebola virus is currently on the rampage in West Africa is no longer news. What is rather news - and very scary for that matter - is that the World Health Organisation has just confirmed a case of the infection in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital and one of the most populous city in Africa.

Though the patient has passed away, there are fears that many people he had come in contact with as he journeyed from Liberia to Nigeria may have been infected; while the medical workers that attended to him during his brief stay in the hospital also need to be examined!

The reasons are not far-fetched: Ebola virus is virulent — it is extremely dangerous and deadly, and usually spreads very quickly. The WHO estimates that the death rate is a whopping 90 per cent.

Below are the Mode of Contacting Ebola

Experts say Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. And once it enters an individual, s/he becomes a high risk to everyone s/he comes into contact with. And that’s why you can’t afford to be careless with the way you relate with people, especially when it comes to intimate relationships such as kissing, necking and sexual intercourse.

Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Jide Idris, warns that infection occurs from direct contact - through broken skin or mucous membranes — with the blood, or other bodily fluids or secretions such as poops, urine, saliva and semen of infected people. The WHO corroborates this claim.

S3x and the virus

How can Ebola in the semen infect you, whether it is outside or inside of the body? Experts proffer an answer. The WHO states that people are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. All you need do to get infected is to have any form of contact with the infected semen and you are done!

A gynaecologist, Dr. Damilola Akinduro, adds that in normal séxual process, sperm ejac-ulated into a woman’s vag-ina can live in her cervical mucus or upper genital tract for three to five days, making fertilisation possible.

He also says sperm ejac-ulated outside the body might survive in semen — the fluid released during ejaculation — up to a few hours. So, even if you try to play safe by having a man ejaculate outside of your body in the name of coitus interruptus or through anal and oral séx, you may still be infected within the few hours that the sperm and the virus are still alive. Scary, isn’t it?

And as terrible as the situation is, WHO discloses that even men who have recovered from the (Ebola) illness can still spread the virus to their partner through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovery.

“For this reason, it is important for men to avoid séxual intercourse for at least seven weeks after recovery or to wear condoms if having séxual intercourse during seven weeks after recovery,” WHO counsels.

Wet dreams

Akinduro says that since most people may be ignorant of their Ebola status, parents should advise their male adolescents who may have wet dreams to wash their beddings and other clothing materials that may have been soiled in the process.

Indeed, experts at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control assure that Ebola virus is easily killed by soap, bleach, sunlight or drying.

“Machine washing clothes that have been contaminated with fluids will destroy Ebola,” they say; adding that “Ebola virus survives only a short time on surfaces that are in the sun or have dried.”

Akinduro also urges careful handling and safe disposal of used condoms, so that people don’t come into contact with them.

Signs and symptoms

As for knowing whether or not you have the virus, the WHO says if you have sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, don’t delay. Rather, visit the hospital and have a medical test. “It may make a difference between dying and staying alive,” Akinduro suggests.

The WHO also suggests that the aforementioned typical signs and symptoms are usually followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. You don’t want to go through this painful experience; so, see the doctor without delay.

Drug addicts at risk

Experts note that needle-sharing among people who inject drugs is a very common phenomenon; and blood transfer is common as a result.

It is common knowledge that drug addicts who share needles risk a lot of infectious diseases ranging from HIV to Hepatitis B & C; but physicians are now warning that drug addicts are also at risk of contacting Ebola virus if they share unsterilised needles with infected person.

Akinduro adds that sharp objects such as blades may also not be shared. He even says since no one knows his Ebola status, it is advisable to never share sharp objects, even among family members.

“It doesn’t cost much to own a razor blade and use it personally, if only to prevent possible infection should someone close to you be infected with Ebola and you aren’t aware,” he says.

The united States-based Centres for Disease Control warns that death through the virus can take place anytime between two to 21 days of infection, usually due to multiple organ failure, loss of blood or shock.

By Punch's Solaade Ayo-Aderele

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