Ebola virus threat to the UK is 'very low'

Health news has been dominated in recent days by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in west Africa, with more than 1,200 confirmed cases and 672 deaths. Cases have been confirmed in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The World Health Organization estimates the current outbreak has a mortality rate of 56%. It is important to note there is currently no direct threat to people in the UK from the Ebola virus. Outbreaks of Ebola are nothing new, but health professionals are concerned about the size of the outbreak. The majority of cases are confined to rural areas, but there has been a reported case of a man infected with the virus arriving via plane in the Nigerian city of Lagos. The man later died.   What is Ebola? Ebola is a virus that can be spread through blood and bodily fluids. The virus originated in the west African rainforest and is thought to have spread to humans by handling or eating infected animals. Once the virus enters the body it can replicate very quickly, causing a range of increasingly harmful symptoms, including internal bleeding. Left untreated it can have a mortality rate as high as 90%.   What are the symptoms of Ebola virus? An infected person will typically develop a fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, and intense muscle weakness. These symptoms start suddenly 2 to 21 days after becoming infected. Diarrhoea, vomiting, a rash, stomach pain and impaired kidney and liver function follow. The infected person may then ...
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