The Ebola Outbreak

The 2014 Ebola outbreak has been the largest Ebola outbreak in history. This fatal virus has mainly been affecting West Africa in countries such as Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and DR Congo.

Background

Ebola is a virus that is originally hosted by wild animals mainly fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, but also monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees. You can get this disease through close contact with blood or exchange of bodily fluids with these infected animals. Once a human is infected, the virus can spread with any kind of physical contact. Scientists say that it takes about 2 to 21 days for the symptoms to become more significant. It often starts with fevers, muscle pain, headaches, and a sore throat, eventually leading into more severe cases of vomiting, diarrhea, and hemorrhage.

Till this day, there is no FDA approved vaccine for Ebola. Many sources show that people who are infected have a 50 – 80 percent chance of dying, however there have been people who have not died. Even if cured, the person who was contaminated could still have the virus in his semen for around 30 days. Luckily Ebola isn’t an airborne disease. The three main types of this disease are Zaire, Bundibugyo, and Sudan. The epidemic in West Africa is mostly caused by the Zaire species.

Today’s news shows the mind blowing yet horrifying number of possible fatalities since January, 1.4 million! So far 20,000 people are affected just in the western part of Africa, and the numbers are gradually increasing. In countries like Guinea, the total case count is a 1,008 people with a total death toll of 632. Similarly, in Liberia the total case count is a 3,022 people with a total death toll of 1,578.

Spreading to the USA

Have you ever thought about how the infected people in Africa can affect people in the USA? The most common place of exchange of Ebola is in hospitals and clinics where the virus is actually trying to be treated! Recently, two American missionaries, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol went to Liberia to help the infected people, but unfortunately contracted the fatal disease. Both patients were brought to New York to be treated by a cocktail of antibiotics, and fortunately reporters say that they are responding slowly, but positively.

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