Ebola or the Ebola virus has spread very fast in the past few months, moving from its point of origin in West Africa where it has killed almost 5,000 people, to other parts of the world like the US and Spain. While the World Health Organization keeps telling us things are under control and we shouldn’t worry on a global scale yet, the truth is that nobody knows how things will turn up on the long run.
In order to understand whether or not Ebola can get into our food, we first need to look at how the virus acts and how it can be transmitted today. Once a person contracts the virus, there’s a period of incubation which lasts from 2 to 21 days. First symptoms include headaches, increased fever, cold-like symptoms like soar throat and muscle pain. If left untreated, the disease evolves to present secondary, but powerful symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and rashes. Liver and kidney damage is also expected at this time. Loss of fluids and severe internal and external bleeding usually leads to the death of the infected person within 6 – 16 days from when the first symptoms became noticeable.
Contracting the virus right now is pretty unlikely, but possible. Because we don’t have all the answers yet, it’s tough to rule out any form of transmission 100%. Just the idea of not knowing all the facts about a virus like this, or any other one for that matter, is reason enough to take precaution now!
The Ebola virus is somewhat new, having been identified for the first time in 1976. Given the restricted outbreaks in the past, research has not been done to identify a cure – even now, there’s no cure for the virus itself, but preventive measures, safety protocols addressing those who work with Ebola patients and symptom management can lead to a reduced risk of infection or death, respectively.
Viruses, like any other form of living organisms reproduce and scatter around. In time, with large enough populations, mutations can appear. So it’s not completely crazy to expect the Ebola virus to mutate and evolve in time, especially if the current outbreak isn’t managed properly in due time. These mutations, along with the evolution process the virus will undergo may make it, at some point, transmissible through more than bodily fluids, and if not already, get contracted by animals. For now, we’re only sure that it has a relatively short life in the air.
Can Ebola Get Into Food?
It’s been stated that the first outbreak has been linked to humans consuming bats. The bats were captured and cooked – but not enough or well enough to destroy the virus. Bats are a natural reservoir for the virus, meaning Ebola can live in their organisms and not affect them – but it makes them the perfect host to transmit the virus. So in a way, yes – Ebola can live in animals and infections can happen as a result of eating certain foods.
What we need to focus right now is the fact that the virus has made its way into the civilized world. Viruses are extremely adaptive to new environments and conditions and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the virus would start spreading in other ways than through direct contact with bodily fluids. If it does turn out that it can be spread by food or water, it may find its way onto our farms and into our beloved food sources and supplies.
What Can I do To Protect Myself
Of course, this is a potential outcome that hasn’t been verified, and nobody should start worrying about it right away. But we can do our best to make sure that the food we eat is safe. There are a plethora of other conditions, diseases, viruses you could expose yourself and your family to if you don’t play it safe. Prepackaged emergency foods are a great way to ensure that you’ve got some supplies stacked up in case the worst comes around. Food shortages are to be expected in case a potentially deadly virus makes its way in our food. If news ever broke that our food supply chain has been compromised by disease or infection, the grocery stores would pull off all the potentially poisonous food causing a severe shortage of ready items. Personal hygiene and proper self-education as to what carries certain diseases and how they can be contracted should play equally important roles in prevention tactics. In addition, having a supply of emergency food on hand would not be a bad idea either.
Can Ebola get into food? We don’t know the answer to that yet for certain. Whether it’s Ebola or the next virus to go public, one of them will eventually contaminate our food supply. Will you be prepared when it does?
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For more in-depth information on Ebola, you can also access the CDC ( Center for Disease Control ) website here: CDC website