“We Stand as One” Conference Call with Centers for Disease Control
“We Stand as One against Ebola” Campaign
The following information is intended to educate Liberians about the Ebola Virus in order to stop the spread and deaths associated with the virus. The information here includes excerpts from a presentation made on a conference call by Craig Manning, a specialist from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The call, attended by about 400 callers, received support from members of the Union of Liberian Association in America (ULAA), Liberian social and civic groups across the country and was moderated by Philip B. Suah, Jr. The idea for the call was initiated by leaders of Liberty Party.
Source of Ebola: The Ebola virus lives in bats but does not make them sick. The Ebola virus is released from the bats from time to time and can infect monkeys, chimpanzees, and humans, and other wild animals. Ebola is not caused by witchcraft or a curse, or any other cause.
Four Questions to determine whether you are at risk for Ebola
1. Have you eaten any Ebola-infected monkey or Ebola-infected bat within the last 2 weeks? 2. Have you been caring for any sick person with Ebola without any protection (gloves, etc.)? 3. Have you worked in a hospital, without protection, where someone was infected with Ebola? 4. Have you attended a funeral and were involved in washing a body of someone who died
If you answer No to all these questions, you have little or no risk of getting Ebola. Ebola is not easily transmitted, but extreme care must be taken to avoid direct contact with bodily fluids of a person infected with Ebola.
Frequently Asked Questions on Ebola
Question 1: Is there a cure?
There are no vaccines or medication but people do recover from Ebola. While the percentage may vary, there is a 45% survival rate approximately. There is no cure but there is treatment. The sooner a patient arrives at a treatment unit, the more likely they will survive.
Question 2: This disease has been in several other countries over the years. What did they do to stop the spread? To stop the spread of Ebola, we need to isolate infected people and treat them. The disease will die out if it cannot spread. Unlike previous Ebola outbreaks, this time there are cases in capital cities where there are large populations and lots of movement of persons, making it harder to stop.
Question 3: Can Ebola be transmitted through sex? What about kissing?
Yes, Ebola can be transmitted through sex and kissing. For those who have been cured from Ebola, it’s preferable to abstain from sex for three months. If abstinence is not an option, men should use a condom during this three-month period.
Question 4: After a person is cured, can they transmit the disease through sweat within 3 months of being cured? No. Once a person is recovered from Ebola they cannot spread the disease by sweat. The treatment facility will test the patient, and if their test is negative they will be released from the Ebola Treatment Unit. It is important to welcome these persons back into the family and community. They cannot spread Ebola to anyone.
Question 5: What is the life span of the Ebola virus?
There is no simple answer to this question. The virus can live in blood, vomit, and feces for some time (hours to days). And it can live in corpses for some days after death. The virus is weak outsideof the body and can be destroyed by sunlight, UV light, heat, chlorine, soap, and other disinfectants easily.
Question 6: We have heard that the Ebola virus also spread by eating infected monkeys. How is this so? The Ebola virus lives in bats. Only 5% of bats carry the virus, however. Bats can transmit the virus to monkeys and other animals. Not all monkeys are infected by Ebola virus. The danger of an infected monkey spreading the virus lies in the butchering of the infected monkey, where humans come in contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected monkey. Once the monkey meat is cooked, there is no chance for the Ebola virus to spread, because the heat has killed the virus.
Question 7: If we have a common drinking water well, should we have concerns for getting Ebola?
No, Ebola is not a waterborne disease. It will not contaminate drinking water supply. If bodies are buried properly near a well, there is no risk for getting Ebola If the well is near a treatment center, there is no risk for getting Ebola
Question 8: Is there a vaccine in the works for Ebola? After one is cured, can one be infected again? While there are talks of a vaccine, there is not yet confirmation of one. However, survivors cannot get the disease again. In other words, survivals build immunity to the disease.
Question 9: Can a person live with the Ebola Virus the same as people with AIDS?
No. The Ebola virus cannot live in a person indefinitely. The person either survives the virus or is killed by it.
Question 10: How do we protect the community when we’ve identified an infected person?
Isolate the individual, contact local medical authorities, exercise extreme caution to avoid direct contact with infected person(s).
Question 11: Does Ebola survive in cold weather? What advice do you have for Liberians now that it is the rainy season? Yes, generally virus survives in colder temperatures. Rainy season may decrease the spread of the disease, if the rainy season restricts movement of the general population. This outbreak started during dry season and has persisted into the rainy season. The weather itself does not directly affect the transmission of the disease. We will likely see cases in the next dry season, too.
Question 12: Since the incubation period of the virus can be up to 21 days, for people coming out of Liberia now, what do they need to do to make sure that they have not been infected with the virus? Get tested immediately. Preferably in Liberia before they leave but definitely get tested immediately after arrival in the States. The second best option after prevention is getting tested. Look for signs and symptom: weakness, fever, etc. So far, there are no cases of Ebola in the United States. If there are no symptoms, there are no risks. The lab in Liberia can perform a limited number of tests each day and will not do tests on healthy individuals. If you have fever or other Ebola symptoms, do not travel. Soon there will be people at airports checking to see that all passengers are healthy before boarding an airplane out of the country. Check your temperature every day for 21 days after leaving the country. If you develop fever, immediately contact your doctor.
Question 13: What advice do you have for people living in towns and villages where relatives have died from the Ebola virus? It is best to contact health officials or medical personnel for help with burial safety. Do not wash the body or come in contact with the body without proper training and protection. Bodies must be properly wrapped before burial. If possible, record the date the persons died, and who in the village they had contact with. Provide this information to healthcare workers when they arrive.
Question 14: Can Ebola virus leave a dead body after burial and then seep into the ground water to infect others?
Highly unlikely. The key is the body must be in proper body bag, workers at the grave must be protected; grave must be 6 feet below the surface. Chlorine is used to disinfect the gravesite.
Question 15: Which is better, burning or burying the body?
Both are safe if performed by trained persons. The most important thing is for family to not touch the body, before it is buried or burned. The President has ordered that all bodies in Liberia are now to be cremated.
Question 16: Are there home remedies or local herb medicines?
Unfortunately, no. There are no vaccines, medications, or “country medicine.” The best way to cure Ebola is not to get infected. The Ebola treatment centers offer the best treatment for Ebola patients. They also protect a patient’s family by removing that person from the home.
1. Ebola is not airborne. Ebola does not jump on to people all by itself. Ebola is not easily transmitted.
2. Ebola transmits only by direct contact with the bodily fluid of a person who is sick with Ebola. Direct contact means physically touching—for example, caring for an infected person on a regular basis.
3. After a period of 8-10 days following infection with someone who is sick with Ebola, the infected person may start showing symptoms like fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. The actual incubation period can be from 2-21 days. During the period before the fever, they cannot transmit the virus to anyone.
4. Because Ebola is transmitted by direct contact, family members caring for a loved one with Ebola are at risk of getting infected themselves. Then they get sick, and another family member steps in to take care of them, and then they get sick. This is called the “chain of transmission.” If we can ‘break’ the chain of transmission, we can stop Ebola. People who help a sick person to move, toilet, and eat/drink are at risk. People who are washing clothing and bedding of sick persons are also at risk.
5. Persons suspected of the illness must go to the care center for isolation and care to avoid spread of the disease. Health care workers can test for Ebola. The test takes 1-2 days for results. The patient should be isolated until the results are known.
6. Part of the reason why Ebola can spreads is that some people don’t believe that Ebola exists. This can lead to people unknowingly becoming exposed to infected persons. Others believe that Ebola is real, but are terrified of the virus. Often when someone in the house becomes ill, family members flee to other villages, taking the virus with them. The government of Liberia is planning to restrict movement of people between counties to prevent this problem.
7. The best strategy to fight against the disease is through information and education, through via radio, television, newspaper, billboards, word of mouth, etc. Please contact your relatives and family living in Liberia and tell them this information. Many here do not trust the Liberian government, but will trust loved ones.
8. When there’s a sick Ebola patient in the home, transferring the patient to the hospital is very risky. Infected individuals must not share cups, utensils, clothes infected with blood. Call the Ebola hotline and a case investigation team will come to the home. If it is not possible to transfer them to a treatment center, they can provide protective gear to care for the patient in the home.
1. Craig Manning, U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2. Dr. Marilyn Felkner, State of Texas Emerging and Acute Infectious Disease Branch 3. Cynthia Blandford, Consul General of Liberia.
4. Union of Liberian Association in America (ULAA) 5. Grand Capemount County Association 6. Bong County Association 7. Lofa County Association
8. Nimba County Association (UNICCO) 9. Bassa County Association (UNIBOA) 10. Grand Gedeh County Association 11. Liberia Association, Sacramento
12. Liberia Association, Houston 13. Liberia Association, Dallas 14. Liberia Association, Nashville 15. LiberianAssociationofMetropolitanAtlanta 16. OtherLiberianAssociations
Special thanks to Liberty Party and its leaders for initiating the need to bring Liberians together on a conference call against Ebola. In the interest of creating a neutral and non-political atmosphere, I was asked to coordinate and moderate “We Stand as One against Ebola” campaign as an individual with anyone or group willing to fight against Ebola. For more information, email questions only to email@example.com. This account will be in effect until Ebola is officially declared eradicated from Liberia.
Philip B. Suah, Jr. Coordinator/Moderator, “We Stand as One against Ebola” Campaign