Ebola virus: What you really need to know

Ebola virus: What you really need to know

  • One important aspect of healthy living is being educated on outbreaks and epidemics and knowing what steps to take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
  • There is an increasing amount of worry building up about the outbreak of the deadly Ebola in West Africa.
  • Media outlets such as CNN are reporting that the Ebola outbreak “could have ‘catastrophic’ consequences.”
  • Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization delivered a statement on August 1, 2014 to three African presidents:
    First, this outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it,” she stated. “If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.”
  • The efforts to stop the spread of this epidemic in West Africa have been very difficult, as there is no vaccine and no cure for Ebola to date. Usually the disease takes it course which could lead to death.
  • Outbreaks in the past have occurred in sparsely populated areas. What makes this outbreak different is that the cases are occurring in major cities, including Sierra Leone, Monrovia, Liberia, and Conakry, Guinea.
  • This outbreak is “taking place in areas with fluid population movements over porous borders, and it has demonstrated its ability to spread via air travel, contrary to what has been seen in past outbreaks,” Dr. Chan added. “Cases are occurring in rural areas which are difficult to access, but also in densely populated capital cities.”
  • U.S. health experts do not seem worried about the disease spreading now for two reasons:
    • 1. Ebola is infectious: Which means that people infected are highly likely to get sick. The virus is not highly contagious, so it doesn’t spread easily.
    • However, it is transmitted through bodily fluids, direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
    • 2. U.S. health experts say that our health care system would be able to quickly identify the virus and take the necessary steps.
  • While there is still no cure or vaccine, the National Institutes of Health has been working on one for years. They announced an Ebola vaccine trial to launch in September, stating that the vaccine has already shown “”encouraging results” in primates.
  • Most of the efforts from health leaders have been focused on creating a vaccine, while little research has been done on reducing risk and boosting the immune system with plant based dietary steps.
  • There is an important study from the University of Texas Medical Branch published in 2012 that investigates the inhibiting effects of two “kinase inhibitors” on the Ebola virus. The first kinase inhibitor is genistein, a plant compound, and the second is the pharmaceutical drug tyrophostin.
  • The study found that genistein and tyrophostin hinders the entry of the Ebola virus into cells, by interfering with a process called endocytosis (how cells absorb viruses) and uncoating proteins (how the virus alters cell proteins to gain entry). They also observed that genistein and tyrophostin worked in tandem when they were combined.
  • Genistein is primarly found in organic fermented soy foods, as well as fava beans, red clover, coffee, kudzu, and more.
  • There are three other natural treatments that have shown promising results in the past:
    • 1. Garcinia kola: As reported in 1999, extracts from the seeds of this traditional African medicinal herb were found to”…inhibit this virus [Ebola] in cell culture at non-toxic concentrations.”
    • 2. Homeopathic interventions: A study published in 1999 explored the therapeutic potential of a homeopathic preparation of the six-eyed spider venom (Sicarius) at treating symptoms associated with Ebolavirus infection.
    • 3. Estradiol: A 2013 analysis, titled “A systematic screen of FDA-approved drugs for inhibitors of biological threat agents,” found that estradiol exhibited anti-Ebola virus activity in vitro, indicating the relevance of hormonal factors and perhaps gender in susceptibility to the disease – as well as a possible therapeutic role for estradiol if future clinical research confirms bears these findings out.
  • Healthy living means taking preventive steps and adding healthy foods (such as the mentioned above) to your diet.
  • Dr. Margaret Chan concluded: “Ebola outbreaks can be contained. Chains of transmission can be broken. Together, we must do so.

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