black death." We've had problems with influenza outbreaks, causing untold suffering and death, for over a century. When I was asked recently to do my annual column on health for Christian Fiction Online magazine, I chose to write about enterovirus, because at the time it was a major concern. It seems that we've always had to worry about diseases.
Then came Ebola. Thousands died in West Africa, but it wasn't until the viral infection came to our shores (and in my case, our metropolitan area) that people really took note.
It's good to see patients recovering from this infection, and although there is no specific treatment as of this writing, great strides are being made in that area. Meanwhile, let me introduce some facts into an area where rumor and fear abound. This information is from the national allergy and immunology college of which I am a fellow. I believe it's accurate, and I hope it's helpful.
At present, the recognized means of transmission are:
1. direct contact with blood or any secretions of an infected person, including saliva and sweat.
2. exposure to objects (e.g., needles, surgical equipment) contaminated with infected secretions.
3. hand-shaking and close contact (3 feet or less) for prolonged periods with infected patients unless wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
4. Although a 2012 Canadian study suggested Ebola might be transmitted from animal to animal via air, that has not been confirmed.
Symptoms may appear from two to twenty-one days after exposure, but typically are seen at eight to ten days. Symptoms are non-specific, and may mimic flu or similar viral illnesses. Tests are available to show if Ebola infection is present.
One last thought. After you've taken all reasonable steps to stay safe, take comfort in this verse of Scripture: "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday."
(representation of a virus via Freedigitalphotos.net)
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