In rare cases, someone who has recovered from ebola can get the virus again.
The CDC says it is possible for the virus to mutate and cause a person to develop a second infection.
The virus can also be transmitted by blood, tissue, or bodily fluids.
If a person contracts the virus for the fourth time, the CDC says that person is considered immune. This means the person can’t get the virus for six months after the initial infection.
How do you prepare for a possible ebola outbreak?
If a person thinks that they might be at risk of contracting ebola, they should consider taking these steps:
- Get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated for ebola because the virus can be deadly for some people.
- Avoid travel. If a person wants to travel, they should seek guidance from local health officials to make sure they are safe to travel.
- Avoid contact with unvaccinated people. Anyone who wants to travel with others should get a vaccine first.
When should you call a doctor?
A person should call their doctor if they have any of these symptoms:
- Severe vomiting
- Diarrhea for more than a week
- Stiff neck
- Joint pain
These symptoms can be signs of ebola.
According to the CDC, the sooner a person gets treatment, the better their chances are of recovery.
Treatment for ebola
Doctors can treat any infections that they think might be ebola. They will start by giving hydration and electrolyte supplements. These help increase the person’s fluid and electrolyte levels.
Doctors also typically prescribe antibiotics. Treatment usually involves taking a combination of these drugs for two to three weeks.
Doctors may repeat the treatment if the infection does not clear up or they have any other concerns.
Once a person has recovered from ebola, they can get the virus again. According to the CDC, it is possible for the virus to mutate and cause a person to develop a second infection.
The CDC says that the risk of reinfection is rare.
It is also possible for a person to get ebola by coming into contact with bodily fluids. The virus can be transmitted through:
- Blood products
People with symptoms of ebola should seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of ebola
There are many symptoms of ebola that a person can develop. These include:
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade body temperature
- Muscle pain
Anyone who suspects that they have symptoms of ebola should get medical attention right away.
If a person does not get medical attention, they are likely to die within a few days.
According to the CDC, ebola can spread quickly in a hospital or nursing home setting. This means that healthcare workers should take precautions to avoid getting the virus.
A person can contract the virus through:
- Infected blood and blood products
- Infected tissues
- Ingested contaminated food or water
The CDC says that most people who contract the virus have no symptoms. Symptoms can develop at any time during the course of the disease.
A person can also contract the virus through:
- Breathing in droplets from an infected person
- Touching a contaminated surface
- Touching an infected person
- Touching an infected person’s belongings
- Breathing in droplets that have been in the air for a long time
Diagnosis of ebola
To diagnosis ebola, a doctor will do a physical examination. They will check for:
- Jaundice, which happens when the body has a high concentration of bilirubin in the blood
- Muscle weakness
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Enlarged lymph nodes
Doctors can also run tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests can include:
- Blood test
- Blood culture
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Blood clotting test
If the symptoms of ebola are severe, doctors might have to perform a liver biopsy. A liver biopsy is a procedure that involves a person having multiple small cuts made in the liver. A sample of the liver tissue is then examined under a microscope.
Doctors can also test for the virus through:
- Nasopharyngeal swab
- Stool sample
Prevention of ebola
To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends:
- Getting a vaccine. If possible, get the vaccine as soon as possible.
- Avoid contact with unvaccinated people.
- Avoid travel.
- Avoid touching the surface of the body.
The CDC also recommends that people get the ebola vaccine, also called the live attenuated vaccine, if they have been exposed to the virus. This is because the vaccine can help protect someone against a second infection.
It is also possible to contract the virus from:
- The fecal matter of an infected person
- Semen of an infected person
- Uncooked meat that has been in contact with infected animal tissue
If a person has recently been in contact with an infected person, they should also wash their hands thoroughly.
The CDC also recommends that people:
- Wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is best to use it at the sink or in the shower.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid eating or drinking in public.
- Keep their distance from others.
- Stay away from sick people and people who are very sick.
A person should also avoid contact with:
- Animal or human waste
- Dogs or cats
- Uncooked meat, especially raw or undercooked meat
Complications of ebola
People who contract the virus can have severe symptoms, such as:
- High fever
- Muscle or joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
People can also develop the following complications:
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- Hepatic failure
- Renal failure
People who are very ill can develop the following complications:
- Lung damage
- Liver damage
- Heart damage
- Brain damage
- Kidney damage
- Central nervous system failure
Ebola is a serious illness that can cause fatality in some people. If a person contracts the virus for the fourth time, they are considered immune.
However, a person should still get a vaccine or get treatment to avoid contracting the virus and getting sick.
A person should always check with a doctor if they have any symptoms of ebola
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