Hunters, butchers warned of Ebola threat

Hunters and butchers are being advised to exercise extreme caution in handling fresh meat in order to avoid contracting the deadly Ebola virus.

According to Dr. Kofi Bonney, a research Fellow with the Virology Department of   the Nogouchi Memorial Research Center, the disease is believed to be transmitted mainly through direct contact with fruit-eating bats, monkeys and pigs.

Dr. Bonney was speaking Thursday, at a sensitisation workshop by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) on the disease, which is spreading swiftly in many African countries.   

Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease caused by ebola viruses. Symptoms start 2 days to 3 weeks after contacting the virus with a fever, throat and muscle pains, and headaches. There is then nausea, vomiting and diarrhea along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. At this point some people begin to have problems with bleeding.

Though Ghana has not officially recorded any case of the deadly virus, the recent Ebola scare at the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi has prompted attention of the  health authorities and stake holders in the sector to educate Ghanaians on the disease.

The disease has recently claimed several lives in some West African countries and is still spreading to other countries creating panic in countries that share borders with those that have recorded cases.

There is no specific treatment for the virus with efforts to help people including giving the person either oral rehydration therapy or intravenous fluids. The disease has a high rate of death possibly up to 90%, Dr. Bonney stated.

He said it typically occurs in outbreaks and occurs in tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Between when it was first identified in 1976 and 2012 less than 1000 people a year have been infected. The disease was first identified in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Efforts are ongoing to develop a vaccine; however, none exists as of 2014.

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