On Sunday, the World Health Organization released an information note regarding Ebola and food safety.
A serious, ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Africa has killed more than 1,400 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, and another is potentially emerging in Central Africa.
Ebola viruses are known to cause epidemics of disease among wild animals, and potential hosts include non-human primates, duikers, bats, small rodents and shrews.
The initial source of past outbreaks was likely human contact with wild animals through hunting, butchering and preparing meat from infected wild animals (“bush meat”), with subsequent transmission from human to human. But in the current outbreak, the majority of cases are a result of human-to-human transmission.
The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients.
If food products are properly prepared and cooked, humans cannot become infected by consuming them because the Ebola virus is inactivated through cooking.
Basic hygiene measures, including regular hand washing and changing clothes and boots before and after touching infected animals or contact with raw meat and byproducts, can prevent infection in people.
Sick and diseased animals should never be consumed, WHO warns.
Spread of the infection can be controlled through the use of recommended protective measures in clinics and hospitals, at community gatherings, during burial ceremonies or at home.© Food Safety News