Currently in Africa, hospitals are being swarmed with a newer, deadlier disease than they have ever seen before, Ebola. As soon as the first patients were infected by this disease in February, The World Health Organization reported that this virus has appeared in West Africa and raised an alarm in the neighboring countries. The world has become aware of this disease which is being classified as an epidemic in Africa. The first appearances of the virus were in Sierra Lione, Liberia, and Guinea which border Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country. In order to isolate the virus and kill it, all patients have been quarantined in their respective hospitals. The World Health Organization is trying it’s best to isolate the virus and to stop it from spreading to Africa’s most populous regions.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a virus known as the Ebola Virus Disease or the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. This virus is contracted from monkeys, pigs, and fruit bats who have been infected yet, not all the animals show symptoms of infection. In February, Patient Zero, the first patient to be infected with this virus in this outbreak, had probably come in contact with one of these animals where the patient was in contact with the blood or bodily fluids of the animals to be infected. The first time this virus was ever encountered was around 1976 where it affected a small number of people and disappeared until this year. In February 2014, the largest Ebola outbreak began. This disease has a death rate of 50% to 90% and can only be treated by IV fluids or oral rehydration therapy as there is no vaccine or cure discovered to stop the virus.
How is Ebola diagnosed?
After the patient is infected, the patient will show flu-like symptoms characterized with a fever with chills, sore throat, severe headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and chest pain. The doctors who diagnose the virus must quarantine themselves after coming in contact with the patient and must use hygiene skills like washing their hands, wearing protective clothing, and having a mindset of extreme caution when being in contact with the patient. The disposal of the fluids from the patient is critical as the virus may spread if another unprotected person comes in contact with it.
What can we do?
In the early stages of this outbreak, the United States and other countries must be extremely cautious of this disease and must make sure that this virus will not affect more people and take more lives. Over 1,200 people have been infected where it claimed 621 lives to date and the toll is rising. Recently, a foreign official for Liberia was infected and died in Lagos, Nigeria, potentially beginning the spread of the virus into the most populous country of Africa. To prevent this disease from spreading, pigs, fruit bats, and monkeys must be tested in order to stop contact to humans and to stop the disease from spreading even more.
This virus seems to be the next H1N1 and might take a toll on lives around the world.
“Ebola Virus.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 July 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease#2014_outbreak>.