The World Health Organization Calls Ebola an International Public Health Emergency—WiRED Continues to Fight the Epidemic with Education



ccording to The New York Times, the World Health Organization has not only declared the Ebola epidemic in West Africa to be an international health emergency but demanded an extraordinary response.


Early in the outbreak, WiRED International recognized the potential severity of Ebola and quickly developed a peer-reviewed training module on the illness for community health workers and others facing this crisis. WiRED released the module a month ago in English and French and distributed it through our Community Health Education website. Caritas International, a global health organization, immediately sent it to all of its clinics, hospitals and other affiliates throughout West Africa. WiRED has been responding to requests for the module from organizations in the affected region by emailing a portable version of the module for use on laptops in remote areas. The portable module also can be downloaded from our website.


Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates, and is one of the world’s most contagious diseases. However, the infection can be controlled through recommended protective measures, described in WiRED’s module.


Our Ebola module includes advice on prevention, containing the infection, caring for someone with Ebola and safety precautions for healthcare workers. WiRED invites people everywhere to spend a few minutes reviewing this module to understand the basics of the disease.

Everyone around the world is reading about this crisis, but many people don’t understand what Ebola is, how it is transmitted, treated or prevented. Our Ebola module includes advice on prevention, containing the infection, caring for someone with Ebola and safety precautions for healthcare workers. WiRED invites people everywhere to spend a few minutes reviewing this module to understand the basics of the disease.


WiRED has been using social media through our Facebook page to target distribution of our cost-free Ebola health education module directly to grassroots audiences in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia and the Ivory Coast. In affected countries our recent Facebook posts have reached more than 55,000 people who might otherwise not have known about this potentially lifesaving resource. WiRED’s social media outreach efforts are getting information to people in West Africa, and they’re stimulating an interesting dialogue from persons in affected countries. Social media are proving to be quick, effective ways for WiRED to distribute information about this educational tool directly to the communities that need it most.


When a crisis such as Ebola strikes, emergency workers rush to the scene to provide assistance. People in affected populations, however, need appropriate information to understand the disease and related issues and to take proper precautions. In educating underserved people to address their own medical issues, especially in an epidemic, WiRED strives to overcome the inequality of healthcare knowledge.


The Ebola module and nearly 300 others are available free of charge by accessing our Community Health Education e-library.





Questions and Answers on Ebola

The current Ebola outbreak is centered in three countries in West Africa: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, although there is the potential for further spread to neighboring African countries. Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public. The CDC is adding resources by sending 50 more workers to the area to help bring the outbreak under control.

What is Ebola?
Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the Ebola virus though 8-10 days is most common.

How is Ebola transmitted?
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

Can Ebola be transmitted through the air?
No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air.

Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water?
No. Ebola is not a food-borne illness.  It is not a water-borne illness.

Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms?
No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms.

Are there any cases of individuals contracting Ebola in the U.S.?

What is being done to prevent ill passengers in West Africa from getting on a plane?
CDC is assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. In addition, airports in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are screening all outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms, including fever, and passengers are required to respond to a healthcare questionnaire.  CDC is also increasing support in the region by deploying 50 additional workers to help build capacity on the ground.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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