Somalia Remains Ebola-Free!

Somalia is Ebola-free

Ebola spread in countries whose troops are present in Somalia; in this case, Ebola was expected to reach Somalia so early because the peacekeepers could potentially bring the disease from those countries due to frequent transcontinental flights into Mogadishu, Sierra Leone being one of AMISOM’s troop contributing countries.

Ebola death toll passed eight thousand as WHO reported 8153 death cases so far in the New Year of 2015 and Sierra Leone had the largest rise in fatalities since the previous figures were issued on January 2, recording 88 deaths.

The Somali government started major steps forward in the beginning by putting stringent measures in place to prevent Ebola from entering the horn of African coastal country. They firstly demanded that African nations peacekeeping groups, particularly west African countries, should delay the troops who were supposed to deploy from the time when the outbreak was revealed. Secondly, they requested that the health of the troops present in the country were tested at different times, and so far, none of them have contracted the Ebola virus.

The three journalists arrested

Considering Somalia has long been a place devastated by civil war and droughts with almost non-existent healthcare infrastructure, an outbreak of Ebola could have seen catastrophic consequences. In this regard, the government and people in Somalia do not want to hear the subject of any suspected Ebola case being reported in the country.

Recent news from local journalists said that a suspected Ebola infection in a patient remains unconfirmed.

Three journalists were detained by Somali police on Saturday in connection with the report broadcast about a potential case of Ebola within Somalia.

Ebola Is Deadly And Fatal

The Ebola epidemic is the worst in world history, blamed for killing over 8,000 people across West Africa since the start of last year, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola is a rare and deadly disease, aused by infection with one of the Ebola viruses. It is spread by direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids and may also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals. Spread of the disease through the air between primates, including humans, has not been documented in either laboratory or natural conditions. The Ebola virus could spread through contact with bodily fluids. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, and up to 85 per cent of persons who get the disease, die. Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Skin rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.

Prevention Better Than Cure

Prevention focuses on avoiding contact with the viruses. The following precautions can help prevent infection and spread of Ebola.

  • Avoid areas of known outbreaks
  • Before traveling to Africa, find out about current epidemics by checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • As with other infectious diseases, one of the most important preventive measures is frequent hand-washing. Use soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.

  • Avoid bush meat
  • In developing countries, avoid buying or eating the wild animals, including nonhuman primates, sold in local markets.

  • Avoid contact with infected people
  • In particular, caregivers should avoid contact with the person’s body fluids and tissues, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. People with Ebola are most contagious in the later stages of the disease. – Follow infection-control procedures. If you’re a health care worker, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields. Keep infected people isolated from others. Dispose of needles and sterilize other instruments. – Don’t handle remains. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola disease are still contagious. Specially organized and trained teams should bury the remains, using appropriate safety equipment.

Vaccine Development

Scientists are working on a variety of vaccines that would protect people from Ebola virus. Some of the results have been promising, but further testing is needed.

Omar Wardere is a Somali researcher, reporter and editor. He is a committee member of National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and member of Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa.