Ebola is a virus that was first discovered back in 1976 near the Ebola River in Africa. Since that time, it has periodically erupted, but the outbreak in 2014 in West Africa is the largest yet. While the death rate for Ebola can be around 90 percent, the current outbreak has a death rate of about 55 percent.
On August 8 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency.
What are the symptoms of Ebola?
Ebola symptoms include a fever greater than 101.5ºF, muscle and head pain, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Bleeding or bruising can also be a sign. Ebola symptoms occur within 10 to 21 days of exposure to the virus. The virus leads to severe immune-suppression, but most deaths are attributed to dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting.
As the infection progresses, cerebral edema (fluid in the brain), coagulation disorders, and secondary bacterial infections may occur. Hemorrhaging tends to begin four to five days after onset of the initial symptoms, which includes bleeding in the throat, gums, lips, and vagina. Vomiting blood, excreting tar-like feces indicative of gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver and/or multi-organ failure can also occur.
How is Ebola transmitted?
The natural reservoir of Ebola virus is believed to be bats, particularly fruit bats, and it is primarily transmitted between humans and from animals to humans through body fluids.
Ebola is mainly spread through direct contact with bodily fluids including vomit, semen, vaginal fluids, urine, needles, and syringes. So, coming into casual contact with a person with Ebola isn’t highly likely to cause you to contract the virus. But extreme caution is important so it’s not a good idea to get very close to a person who has been diagnosed with Ebola, which is why quarantine is so important.
What can you do to protect yourself against infections that kill or maim?
Your greatest protections against any dangerous infection, including Ebola include –
- Safe sex practices
- Good personal hygiene
- A strong immune system
In general healthy people with a strong immune system are much less likely to contract severe infections than someone who is exposed to overcrowding, malnutrition, unclean water, contaminated food and parasites. One of the reasons the Ebola virus has spread so rapidly in West Africa is that many people already have a weakened immune system due to malnutrition and overcrowding.
Selenium helps your body to fight viruses I have been practising and researching nutritional medicine for over 40 years and if anyone asked me “what is the most important nutrient to fight a viral infection?”- I would say without doubt – whether it is a chronic or acute viral infection – it is selenium. I call selenium “the viral birth control pill”.
Selenium acts on the genetic material of viruses (its RNA or DNA) and has three highly valuable effects:
- Inhibits the ability of the virus to multiply (replicate)
- Reduces the ability of the virus to mutate into a more aggressive (virulent) form
- Increases the chances that the virus will stay inactive or less active and not harm you
A normally harmless (or low-pathogenic virus) can become much more destructive (virulent) in a person who is selenium deficient. A lack of selenium causes a decrease in the production of selenium dependent proteins that keep viruses under control. This is serious and can result in worse outcomes for people infected with many types of nasty viruses including Ebola, polio, AIDS, influenza, the human papilloma virus (which causes cervical cancer) and hepatitis A and B viruses.
Good hygiene is essential
I have worked in India where I saw many people die from bacterial infections. I also had a colleague who died 24 hours after having pus squirted up his nose when he drained a patient’s abscess. The bacteria in the pus travelled quickly from his nose up into his brain.
We need to kill these types of viruses and bacteria before they can get deeply into our body behind its protective barriers.
To reduce your exposure to nasty viruses and bacteria wash your hands with soap regularly and often. Tea tree oil soap is the best. Infective agents are everywhere, and in the course of a day’s activities, we constantly touch many objects and make contact with many people. Without being aware, we touch our nose, mouth, and eyes.
Garlic is a potent herb which provides a powerful stimulus of protection to the immune system, killing yeast, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
Eat plenty of garlic both raw and cooked. In garlic supplements look for a high allicin content. Allicin is the potent sulfur compound in garlic which exerts the antibiotic effects.
You may develop a garlic breath in the mornings before you eat – but it’s worth it!
Laboratory and animal studies confirm garlic’s antiviral effects. The sulfur compounds in garlic are primarily responsible for the antiviral activity, which means that if garlic is completely deodorized it will not help to prevent or treat viral infections. It is known that garlic can increase natural killer cell activities and enhance some specific immune cells.
Foods in the same plant family as garlic, such as onions, leeks and chives, are somewhat weaker than garlic but they have many immune benefits and anti-viral effects. I recommend that you also use them liberally in your diet.
Vitamin C has many powerful anti-viral effects –
- Increases the killing power of your body’s own immune cells
- Increases the body’s production of immune-fighting chemicals such as interferon and nitric oxide
- Increases the immune cell production of antibodies that inactivate viruses
- Reduces the inflammatory response caused by a virus in the host’s tissues
All these actions of vitamin C would be very useful if you ever found yourself fighting an attack of Ebola or any deadly strain of flu virus and the life-threatening complications it can cause. While there have been no controlled vitamin C trials in humans infected by the Ebola virus – perhaps because there is no money in a natural substance like vitamin C that cannot be patented – we do have good evidence that vitamin C reduces the severity of colds and influenza.
A suggested program for vitamin C supplementation in someone with a severe acute viral infection would be:
- Start with 1 gram every hour taken orally
- If this causes diarrhoea or abdominal cramping, halve the dose to 500 mg hourly
- If you don’t get diarrhoea or cramping, you can take 2 grams hourly – but make sure you drink two glasses of water every hour
Some people find the ascorbic acid form of vitamin C is too acidic and upsets their stomach and bowels. If this occurs you will probably find that the ascorbate or ester forms of vitamin C are better tolerated.
Preventative Use of Vitamin C
I also suggest that you start taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C twice daily as a preventative and to keep your immune system strong. Keep a stockpile at home in a cool place and in a tightly sealed container so that you have it handy if a pandemic breaks out. Then, if that occurs, double the dose to 4 grams daily (take 1,000 mg every six hours). If you did not get any relief with this amount of vitamin C, it would be good to know a doctor who can administer vitamin C intravenously. Of course, if a severe pandemic breaks out, these types of holistic doctors will be impossible to get into see, thus it’s wise to have your own stockpile of vitamin C at home.
Researchers increasingly regard vitamin D as a powerful anti-infective agent that can help your body to fight a broad array of infections. If you are low in vitamin D you are more likely to suffer severe respiratory infections and inflammation. Low vitamin D means that you are immunologically fragile.
Vitamin D, which is made in large amounts in the skin when it is exposed to the sun, is actually a hormone that regulates hundreds of genes, including some that involve the body’s immunity and its defenses against viruses.
Vitamin D can be found in foods such as canned fish, liver, eggs, dairy products and fortified juice. It is also available in supplement form, with the current recommendation being that you take between 500 and 1,000 IU a day. For many people this is inadequate and they will need 5.000 IU daily. Especially during the winter.
You cannot afford to be low in vitamin D, it is just too risky to your health and longevity.
Regardless of how you get it, make sure that you have an adequate amount of vitamin D. It is easy to check your blood levels of vitamin D with a simple blood test; if your levels are below or at the lower limit of the normal range please take a vitamin D supplement and get some sunshine on your skin. Recheck your blood levels after 3 months to ensure your vitamin D increases well into the normal range. Make sure that you do not become deficient in vitamin D again.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is an amino-acid derivative (small protein) with over 40 years of scientific research to back it up. NAC’s powerful health benefits derive from its ability to restore intracellular levels of glutathione (GSH). Have you heard of glutathione? If not, you need to know about it because it is the body’s most powerful naturally produced internal antioxidant and protector.
NAC’s ability to replenish intracellular glutathione and reduce free radical damage provides significant protection against DNA damage caused by toxins and viruses. Restoring glutathione levels with NAC supplements makes liver cells more able to protect themselves from viral infections.
Research has shown that 1,000 mg a day can significantly decrease the frequency of influenza type symptoms. I recommend 1200 to 2400mg daily if you have a weak immune system or lung or liver disease. NAC is a superb protector of the liver, kidneys and lungs
Can a vaccine or drugs help to protect us against Ebola?
A number of vaccines are in the works, with human trials already underway. Once phase 1 testing is completed in January 2015, phase 2 will be conducted on both American and African populations. If it proves to be safe, the trial will be extended and the second phase takes several months.
If the vaccine is successful in both US and African populations, it may skip the third phase of trials and go directly to Africa. The earliest this might happen is sometime before the end of 2015. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has also been working on an Ebola vaccine for more than a decade.
Despite modern day sanitation, antibiotic drugs and vaccines, the threat that infectious diseases pose to mankind will only get worse – why?
- Increasing crowding of the planet
- Greater mobility of humans
- Global warming (this increases mosquito borne infections)
- Ecological disruption of animal habitats
- Poverty (causes malnutrition and living with animals)
- New viruses are increasingly crossing from animals to humans
Strengthening your immune system is your best strategy for looking after your health, both now and in the future.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.