One of the most common recent web searches that brings readers to my blog is Ebola Virus in Cape Town? As tourists flock to our sunny shores, they want to know ‘is there Ebola in the city?’
The short answer is NO. In fact, up to today (21st October 2014), there’s been no diagnosed cases of Ebola in South Africa.
Mike found an article online from the New York Times website that provided great coverage of Ebola outside of West Africaright now. What I found interesting is that the map showing all the cases are all in the Northern Hemisphere (remember South Africa is far in the Southern Hemisphere)…
This gives an explanation as to what has happened to each person infected outside of West Africa…
There’s a lot more to learn…
It’s interesting that there have been no cases yet reported in Ivory Coast which is right next door. It’s a long, long way from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to Cape Town…
So what risk is there of getting Ebola when you come to South Africa? Right now, it’s probably as risky as anywhere in East Africa, Europe and the USA. The whole thing with Ebola is that its initial symptoms are very similar to a wide variety of illnesses. You get a fever (you get that with flu and a multitude of other viral and bacterial illnesses). A few days later, you may start vomitting and get diarrhoea. That also happens to a lot of people who have eaten something bad. After that, the sinister symptoms arise – nose bleeds, coughing up blood and bleeding from other parts of your body, such as your eyes. That’s the biggest warning sign that this is not just any common virus. By then, you may have been in contact with dozens of people, coughed on shopping tellers, shaken hands with colleagues, hugged your kids, slept with your spouse, been on trains or in taxis and exposed your germs to multitudes of others. And that is what makes Ebola so frightening. The virus has been found to be active on a person’s skin once the symptoms have begun. And, the article in the NY Times says the virus can survive on dry surfaces for several hours. So door knobs, remote controls, cell phones all become dangerous articles through which the virus can spread. The virus can survive a longer period of time in damp areas, so wet clothing, puddles, body fluids all may have the potential to spread the disease for days after the virus enters them. Bleach is believed to kill it.
If this Ebola scare does nothing else, let it make each person on the planet more aware of how germs spread from person to person.
If I were the traveller, travelling from Africa to Europe or the USA, I would take extreme cautions while in transit. These protective measures not only assist in preventing contact with someone infected with a disease such as Ebola, but they will help prevent you getting any other disease that any fellow traveller could be carrying. Here’s what to do:
1. Watch what you touch. Keep your hands well washed. Carry disinfectant wipes with you to wipe the arms of the plane seats. When you go to the bathroom, either in the airport or on the aeroplane, be sure to wipe the door handle before touching it. Carry a piece of paper towel with you to put between the flusher and your hand. Quite often toilets get flushed before people wash their hands. You don’t want your hands where others have been. Apply the same principle to taps of bathrooms sinks. Hands have touched those before being washed. Turn them on using a piece of paper towel. As you leave the bathroom, use paper towel to open the door. Carry a bottle of hand cleaner in your hand luggage and use it.
2. Pick up a mask at the chemist if you are going to be flying. Just think about it…you will be cooped up in a confined area with 200 sets of foreign germs for what could be 12 hours. If you find yourself sitting next to or in front of someone who has a wet cough, you don’t want to be breathing in those germs. Don the mask for a little more peace of mind.
3. The most common illnesses that travellers pick up on long flights include colds and flu. Before you travel, ask your GP or chemist which is the best immune booster to take and starting a few days before dose yourself up.
4. Watch what you drink. Avoid alcohol on long distance flights. Choose rather to maintain your hydration by drinking bottled water. When on holiday, ask about whether tap water in your area is safe. In the main urban areas of Cape Town (and South Africa as a whole), tap water is safe. But if you are in a low cost or rural area, you should rather sway on the safe side and treat your water with water sterilising tablets before drinking it or drink bottled water.
5. Watch what you eat. Travellers Diarrhoea is more common that thought. Up to 50% of travellers may experience loose stools while visiting foreign lands. This could be accompanied by bloating, abdominal pain and general discomfort. It’s believed to be caused, largely by consumption of contaminated food and water. Watch what you eat. (You can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveler’s_diarrhea).
There is no Ebola in Cape Town, but this does not mean there will never be. We need to watch out and protect ourselves against common viruses as well as life threatening ones. You don’t want to die of Ebola, or any other horrible haemorrhagic disease. But having said that, you have to die of something. Death will come. I just don’t want to inconvenience all those around me by getting Ebola! It is so contagious and it would be a right horrible mess if I got it and unwittingly gave it to all my family and friends. I’m sure you agree.
Don’t panic. John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The link for the whole article in the NY Times is as follows (copy and paste) : http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/31/world/africa/ebola-virus-outbreak-qa.html?_r=0
Keep the smile going.
God bless you!
In His Grip,
Gratitude Pic…I’m quite ahead of my 2015 planning…