EBOLA and NAMIBIA – Did you know…

Kowas HUNTING safaris KOWAS HUNTING SAFARIS NEWS:  EBOLA and NAMIBIA:  DID YOU KNOW… Since Africa many times are WRONGLY perceived as a country and hardly ever as a continent, combined with the fact that the media focus on EBOLA, allow Kowas Hunting Safaris to elaborate on this sensitive topic. NAMIBIA has enacted strict precautionary measures and as there currently are no Ebola cases in Namibia, the risk of infection is effectively zero.  Fortunately, Namibia still does not fall into the category of risk countries for the transmission of the Ebola virus. We have selected the following topics of discussion.  However, if you wish to obtain more information in a specific field related to Ebola, do not hesitate to communicate this with Kowas Hunting Safaris in order to provide answers to your possible questions. Ebola virus disease (EVD): Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF)) or simply Ebola is a disease of humans and other primates caused by ebola viruses. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Then, vomiting, diarrhea and rash usually follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. At this time, generally, some people begin to bleed both internally and externally.  Death, if it occurs, is typically six to sixteen days after symptoms appear and is often due to low blood pressure from fluid loss. The virus is acquired by contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected human or other animal. This may also occur by direct contact with a recently contaminated item. Spread through the air has not been documented in the natural environment. Fruit bats are believed to be the normal carrier in nature, able to spread the virus without being affected. Humans become infected by contact with the bats or a living or dead animal that has been infected by bats. Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people as well. Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via semen for nearly two months. To diagnose EVD, other diseases with similar symptoms such as malaria, cholera and other viral hemorrhagic fevers are first excluded. Blood samples are tested for viral antibodies, viral RNA, or the virus itself to confirm the diagnosis. Ebola is not easy to catch. It spreads through body fluids similar to HIV / AIDS… you do not get it by sitting in a plane or car or restaurant. Ebola is much less contagious than many other more common diseases and good infection-control practices easily stop its spread. EBOLA no entry sign SYMPTOMES: Signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus include flu-like illness, a fever of more than 38 degrees Celsius, general body weakness and muscle pain, headaches, nausea and loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting with or without blood, conjunctivitis (red eyes), skin rashes, abdominal pain, sore throat and difficulty in swallowing, hiccups, coughing, chest pain and difficulty breathing. EBOLA IN PERSPECTIVE: The diagnosis of the first Ebola patient on U.S. soil may have put people in a panic, fearing the exotic virus more than mundane germs – such as influenza – that pose a far greater threat to the average American. As health-care workers in West Africa struggle to contain the latest Ebola outbreak, scary headlines in the U.S. are spreading much faster than the disease. Although deadlier than many infectious diseases, the virus is still extremely rare when compared with other, much more common communicable diseases. Influenza and pneumonia, for example, kill more than 50,000 people in the U.S. annually, according to the latest data from the CDC. Still, because Ebola is rare and relatively difficult to transmit, it kills far fewer people than diseases of which Americans are no longer afraid, such as measles and influenza, says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “It’s important to keep these things in perspective,” says Lisa Maragakis, associate hospital epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  She compared Americans’ fear of Ebola to the fear of flying. Though many people are afraid to fly, Maragakis points out that far more people are killed in cars. This outbreak has been ongoing for 6 months and tens of thousands of travellers have been on safari throughout both Eastern and Southern Africa (where it has been high season) without incident. Of the 22 Ebola outbreaks in West and Central Africa since 1976 no safari tourist has ever been infected. EBOLA round image

  • Influenza, which many people mistake for a “bad cold,” claims up to 49,000 lives a year and sends more than 200,000 to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of the more than 100 children who died from flu in the USA last year (2013) were healthy kids with nothing to suggest they were more vulnerable than other children.
  • Measles, one of the most infectious diseases in the world, is far easier to catch than Ebola. If a person with measles comes in contact with 10 susceptible people — those who have never had measles or who are unvaccinated — nine of those people will come down with measles, says Julia Shaklee Sammons, medical director of infection prevention and control at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

On average, people with measles spread the disease to 12 to 18 other people, according to the Michigan Center for Public Health Preparedness. In contrast, people with Ebola in West Africa spread the disease to one to two others, according to the WHO. Unlike Ebola, measles spreads through the air. The measles virus is so hardy that it can linger in the air for two hours after an infected person leaves the room – and still infect the next person to walk by, according to the WHO. Measles is much stealthier than Ebola. People infected with measles can spread the virus for four days before breaking out in tell-tale red spots, according to the WHO.  Even with a mortality rate of 2% to 15% — far lower than the 70% mortality rate seen in the West African Ebola outbreak — measles kills 122,000 people around the world each year, Hotez says. Before vaccines, measles killed 2.2 million every year.

  • Norovirus, the most common cause of both food-borne illness and stomach-related misery in the USA, can live on surfaces for days, so people can pick up the virus just from touching a door handle or a toy, Sammons says. Norovirus – which causes diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps – afflicts up to 21 million Americans a year and kills up to 800, according to the CDC.

If Ebola spread that easily, there would be millions of cases, not thousands, Hotez says.  “In general, Ebola is not easy to get,” Sammons says. Unlike people with measles, patients infected with Ebola can spread the virus only after they begin to show symptoms, such as a fever, Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said at a news conference Tuesday. Ebola can’t spread through the air. It can spread only through direct contact with bodily fluids, primarily blood, Sammons says. Chances are, anyone exposed to Ebola is going to know about it, Sammons says. That gives them time to seek medical help and isolate themselves to prevent them from spreading the virus. Ebola could be far less lethal in a developed country that has access to modern intensive care and basic measures, such as keeping patients hydrated and maintaining a steady blood pressure. One reason Ebola has spread so widely in Africa – in spite of all of these obstacles – is that the countries most affected are extremely poor. Many people lack running water and soap in their homes. So do many hospitals, according to the CDC. If one family member comes down with Ebola, there’s a good chance that others in the home will become infected, especially if patients bleed and vomit profusely. Families without modern toilets and washing machines have trouble cleaning up after patients who lose control of their bowels and produce huge amounts of diarrhea. Even burying the dead can spread Ebola in these countries, because common burial rites involve washing the dead and preparing the bodies. There have only been three confirmed Ebola cases (including one death) in the U.S. And five other cases have been or are being treated in the United States, and one U.S. citizen died abroad. ASPECTS (TRADITIONAL BURIALS) THAT HAMPERS EBOLA FIGHT: World Health Organization (WHO) officials say traditional burial practices are among the obstacles that are making it difficult to control the worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa’s history.  WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said health and relief workers have been trying to educate families in the affected region about how to bury their loved ones without exposing themselves to the virus. He said people who touch the dead could be putting themselves at risk.  “At the moment when a person died from Ebola, this is the moment when the person is the most infectious and when the viral load is the highest,” he said. Dangerous practice Jasarevic has been working with local officials in Guinea and Sierra Leone. In many cultures, he said, families wash the bodies of their loved ones before burial, but this practice is dangerous for Ebola victims because of the presence of bodily fluids.  “Usually there is the point just before the death, there is bleeding,” he said.  Jasarevic also said their could be vomit or diarrhea. Peter Schleicher, a Red Cross operations manager in Liberia, said another obstacle for relief workers in affected communities is fear, explaining that people in some communities have prevented trained health professionals from safely burying Ebola victims. “We got a report back from one of our teams in the field that they have now been blocked by the angry community and they have been denied access,” he said.  Schleicher said the team members were told to turn back to keep from putting themselves at risk. He said relief workers have been trying to alleviate fears and inform communities that Ebola victims can be safely buried by trained specialists, who take extra precautions.  “The body will be disinfected and then be put into one body bag and disinfected again,” he said.  “And this body bag will be put into the outer body bag. So actually, one body will be using two body bags,” said Schleicher. He said relief workers are sensitive to fears and burial traditions. But they have been trying to persuade communities to heed their advice, and allow trained specialists to handle the bodies of Ebola victims. INFECTED COUNTRIES: These countries are currently affected by the Ebola outbreak, as on 21 October 2014

  • Nigeria declared Ebola free 20 October 2014
  • Senegal (single imported case) declared Ebola-free 17 October 2014

EBOLA PROTOCOL IN NAMIBIA: The necessary precautions are in place – vigilance is important;  there is no reason to panic.   Active communication and collaboration between stakeholders is key, Namibian medical officials concluded. Africa map indicating Namibia SCREENING UPON ARRIVAL: The Ministry of Health and Social services received a donation of fever-guns from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to screen new arrivals for high temperature, which is one of the signs of the presence of the virus. The measures to be effected at the Windhoek International Airport (Chief Hosea Kutako International Airport) upon arrival consist of all passengers being screened by trained staff at the old airport building, where further directions will be discussed with the passengers once their screening is done. In the meantime, the Namibia Airport Company (NAC) use infrared hand scanners acquired through the World Health Organisation (WHO) to screen for possible symptoms of Ebola on passengers arriving at the Hosea Kutako International Airport. Additional hand scanners will be used at other (smaller) airports throughout Namibia:  Eros, Walvis Bay and Ondangwa Airports, to screen, detect and isolate Ebola virus cases. SURVEILLANCE FORMS: Health officials are stationed at the Windhoek International Airport, Hosea Kutako International Airport, to receive surveillance forms to monitor temperature for all passengers, using infra-red thermometers.  Detailed screening forms were developed for passengers coming from Ebola-affected countries. Whilst on the flight, a health form (SURVEILANCE FORM) will also be handed out to passengers who must be completed by all. CHECK PASSPORTS: It is advisable that immigration officials should check passports to see whether travellers had recently been to Ebola-affected countries and then take the prescribed measures. ALL PORTS OF ENTRY TO NAMIBIA: As per the arrangement from the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services, all entry points such as borders, harbours and airports have been equipped with temperature scanners and the immigration officials have been briefed to be extra vigilant in screening travellers who may have come from the affected areas. RECOMMENDATION NOT TO TRAVEL TO AND FROM INFECTED COUNTRIES: Namibians are advised not to travel to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, countries known to have been hit by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.   Travelling to the affected countries for mass gatherings like religious and sporting events and conferences will put Namibia at risk of getting the infection and spreading the disease. “In addition, I advise those who intend to come to Namibia from Ebola countries not to come here (Namibia) until further notice,” Mr Kamwi (Minister of Health and Social Services) said. FEVER PASSENGERS BE ISOLATED: The Namibian Ministry of Health has set aside a ward at the Windhoek Central Hospital for the treatment in isolation of anyone with contagious diseases such as Ebola.  The Windhoek Central Hospital isolation unit can treat and manage viral haemorrhagic fever successfully. NO DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM AND TO INFECTED COUNTRIES TO NAMIBIA: It is essential to note that no direct flights between the infected countries and Namibia exist.  In reality, the lack of direct flights limits possible effected people entering Namibia since all passengers travel via other airports prior to arriving to Namibia have been screened several times prior to arriving at the Windhoek International airport. WHERE IS THE AFRICAN COUNTRY “NAMIBIA”: Africa is WRONGLY been seen as a country and hardly ever as a continent… Africa map NAMIBIA Did you know that Africa is made up of 54 countries and that you can fit the United States, China, India, Western Europe and several more countries inside the African continent? NAMIBIA map Most people don’t realise how vast Africa is and that East and southern Africa are just as far from the outbreak area as Europe or South America. “You would not cancel your vacation in Paris because there are conflicts in the Middle East or in Ukraine.  If something nasty was happening in Alaska, you’d still go to New York.” Would you postpone a grizzly bear viewing trip to Kodiak, Alaska if there was a disease outbreak in Miami, Florida? Would you cancel a trip to Paris, France if there was a disease outbreak in Karachi, Pakistan? Probably not… Most people would not hesitate to continue with their vacation plans to the above areas (Paris, Alaska, Florida)…  The reality is that in Africa the distance from the centre of the Ebola outbreak in Monrovia, Liberia (in West Africa) to Etosha National Park in Namibia or Kruger National Park in South Africa or Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania  (East Africa) is the same as between the above mentioned destinations – roughly 4,000 miles! EBOLA are you at risk on safari In short the threat presented by the media (and Hollywood) differs greatly from the reality.  EBOLA magnifieng glass DID YOU KNOW – ABOUT EBOLA:

  1. Ebola Is NOT An Airborne Virus
  2. If You Contract Ebola, it does not mean that YOU WILL DIE
  3. The Virus Is NOT Contagious
  4. Someone Infected In North America Will NOT Lead to A World-Wide Epidemic
  5. Being Around Someone Infected Is NOT High Risk
  6. Ebola Can NOT Be Found In Fruit
  7. Antibiotics Can NOT Cure Ebola
  8. Ebola Victims DON’T Die By Bleeding Out Of Their Orifices
  9. The Disease Is NOT For the Government To Make Money
  10. The Virus Was NOT Brought By Medical Professionals
  1. You can NOT catch Ebola just by breathing the air in the vicinity where someone is infected.  According to the World Health Organization, you can only contract it through direct contact with infected blood and other body fluids, and tissues of infected animals or people.
  2. Contracting the virus does not equal a death sentence. This strain of Ebola has a death rate currently around 55 percent, and with the misinformation out there, a lot of people in affected areas believe that anyone with the virus will die – when in fact, many people have been successfully treated and released from health centers, allowing them to go back home.
  3. With how quickly the disease has spread, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the Ebola virus spreads as fast as the common cold or flu, and that anyone with the virus will pass it along to you. But this isn’t true. On top of the fact that Ebola can only be transferred through body fluids and the tissues of infected animals or people, the person who transfers the disease must also be showing symptoms in order to be contagious. If someone has the virus but is not yet symptomatic, you aren’t at risk.
  4. When viruses and diseases take lives, people get scared. That fear can lead to misconceptions about the virus, including what would happen if someone infected was brought to North America to be treated. Fear often leads to panic, which a lot of North Americans felt when the first infected person was brought into the United States. But one of the most significant reasons why the Ebola virus has spread uncontrollably and is hard to contain in West Africa is because of the much lower level of health care and preventative measures available in the affected areas.
  5. Again, because of how quickly the virus has spread this time around, your first reaction may be that being around someone with Ebola is considered high risk, when in fact, it’s quite a low risk. This stems from the fact that Ebola can only be contracted through bodily fluids, so simply hanging out or being in the presence of someone infected doesn’t put you at much of a risk to contracting the virus. Of course, anyone with Ebola should ideally be receiving treatment in order to contain it, but if not, spending time with someone who has the virus is a fairly low risk.
  6. A similar misconception as Ebola being an airborne virus, it’s commonly thought that the virus can live in certain foods and that you can contract it through these foods. There’s been rumors about avoiding certain fruit, like mangoes, when there isn’t any evidence or reason to do so. When it comes to meat, the World Health Organization says that properly cooked food completely destroys the virus. Though it’s encouraged that people avoid eating animals that have been infected, just to be completely safe. From this fear and misconception, food prices have soared in West Africa, taking an economic toll on top of the already devastating health impact.
  7. There are a lot of viruses out there that people think can be cured by antibiotics, when in fact, there’s very few viruses that can even be treated this way – antibiotics cure bacterial infections, not viral infections. And to top it off, there isn’t a vaccine to prevent you from getting Ebola, should you contract it through body fluids of an infected and symptomatic person. That said, while Ebola has devastated West Africa, North American health care can better effectively treat people with the virus and contain it. Two Americans being treated for the virus were recently released from a Minnesota facility.
  8. When you think of Ebola, a frightening image of someone bleeding out of their eyes might run through your head. It is true that some Ebola victims bleed from their eyes, nose, ears, and mouths, but it only happens to about 20 percent of them, and they don’t die because of it. Ebola attacks your vital organs and weakens your blood vessels, sometimes resulting in bleeding externally through various orifices. Whether or not they experience this at the time of death can be frightening, but it’s definitely not the cause.
  9. One of the most challenging difficulties in containing the virus and convincing those in infected areas that the Ebola virus is infecting and killing people, is the myth that Ebola is a government conspiracy. While that misconception is not necessarily popular in developed countries – or even, most of the world – the belief that the government is covering up things like organ harvesting is strong in regions the virus is running rampant.
  10. A lot of locals do not believe there’s a disease causing these deaths, and protesting has happened in several of the affected countries because of it.

EBOLA round image In short the threat presented by the media (and Hollywood) differs greatly from the reality.

Kindly contact us to assist you in creating opportunities to create memories with an African safari to Namibia….

…where you arrive as a stranger and leave as a friend…

Our flights are booked and we have tickets in hand to attend the yearly Dallas Safari Club Convention, 15 – 18 January 2015.  We will be in booth with numbers 3937/3939 Tel:  +264 62 581558 Cell:  +264 81 211 4900 USA:  (1) 940-440-8998 E-mail:  kowasadv@iafrica.com.na Website:  www.kowasadventure.com DANIE, ANSIE, MORNE AND JACQUES STRAUSS FAMILY and KOWAS CREW

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