Eating raw onions, avoiding mangoes and a daily intake of condensed milk are just some of the grave misconceptions that have been spread about treating and preventing the Ebola virus. Health workers have been confronted with seemingly ridiculous questions about the virus showing there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about Ebola. These myths about the Ebola virus have somewhat contributed to its propagation as health workers are constantly faced with new challenges of how to contain the virus.
Ebola is arguably one of the worst health crises to hit the world with it spreading like wildfire across West Africa and causing numerous deaths. This incurable and highly contagious virus causes hemorrhagic fever (a condition that leads to internal and external bleeding). Ebola infiltrates nearly every cell in the body with a fatality rate of between 50-90%. Here are some common myths that have been spread about Ebola:
Ebola is waterborne, airborne and can be transmitted by casual contact
This is far from the truth. Ebola virus is spread when the body fluids of an infected person comes to contact with the mucous membrane of an uninfected person. The Ebola spreading fluids such as blood, urine, sweat and saliva comes into contact with your eyes, mouth, genitals or open wounds. A lot of contact has to be there to transmit the virus from one person to another and the most victims include family caregivers and health workers. While giving care to a person with Ebola, a lot of protective wear such as gloves and face masks are necessary to prevent transmission.
Ebola was brought to Africa by international medical teams
This is also another huge myth that has hampered the effort of international health works in aiding the locals in West Africa to control the spread of the virus. This myth is arguably most responsible for prolonging the Ebola outbreak since there is a lot of loss of trust of the locals and international health workers. The center for disease control is currently working with local leaders to help educate the population about Ebola and eradicate these myths to control the virus outbreak.
Bringing Ebola Patients back to the US puts the population at risk
Some Americans who have traveled to Ebola infested parts of the world have ended up contracting the virus and there is a lot of controversy regarding whether they should be allowed back into the US. The healthcare systems in Africa are only unable to control Ebola due to some inadequacies. However, a quarantined patient that is handled by professional medical teams can be transported back to the US and treated without infecting others.
Maggie Martin is completing her PhD in Cell Biology, works as lab tech for Mybiosource.com and contributes content on Biotech, Life Sciences and Viral Outbreaks. Follow on Twitter @MaggieBiosource