A dangerous outbreak has taken over the world; Ebola. The Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as the Ebola haemorrhagic, the fever is a severe and often fatal illness in humans. Currently, the worst Ebola outbreak in history is in full swing in West Africa and it is jumping borders at an alarming rate. It has already spread to four countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and most recently Nigeria. There have been over 1,600 reported cases and over 887 deaths in the four countries. Before this outbreak, Ebola first appeared in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan and Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo simultaneously. Ebola was named after the Ebola River, where the Yambuku village was situated near.
Here’s a bit of history regarding the Ebola virus. The outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90% and it occurs in primarily in remote villages, near tropical rainforests in Central and West Africa. The virus is transmitted through African fruit bats, the Pteropodidae family is considered to be the natural host of the virus. There have been cases found when people have handled infected gorillas, chimpanzees, forest antelope, and monkeys that were found ill or dead in the rainforests of Africa. The virus is then transmitted from the wild animals to humans and then it quickly spreads through human-to-human transmission. The transmission occurs through close contact of organs, blood, secretions or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Once one has been infected with EVD, they suffer from a sudden onset of intense weakness, headache, sore throat, fever, and muscle pain. Then these symptoms are soon followed by vomiting, impaired liver and kidney function, a rash, and in some cases both internal and external bleeding. There have also been findings of a low white blood cell count and elevated liver enzymes. There is no licensed vaccine available for EVD, several vaccines have been tested, but none of them have passed the early stages of testing to make them available for clinical use.
Therefore, since news of the outbreak spread, havoc was rapidly occurred. There have been three negative cases in New York City hospitals in the past week. The latest case involved a man who was admitted to Mount Sinai Hospital’s emergency room, located in Manhattan late Sunday with a high fever and gastrointestinal problems. The man is being kept in isolation while at the hospital, because he has recently been to West Africa. However, the doctors at Mount Sinai feel as though there are other illnesses that could have caused the patients symptoms. Last week a patient suffering from a fever admitted at NYU Langone Medical Center and was immediately given a mask and was moved to a secluded area after knowledge they had recently made a visit to West Africa was known. After some brief questioning of the patient, it was revealed that the patient had not visited any of the infected areas. Finally, at Bellevue Hospital Center last week, a patient was quickly placed in isolation, almost as quickly it became clear that the patient did not have Ebola. Therefore, there has been some hysteria regarding the outbreak. There have been two Americans who have actually contracted the EVD virus but have seen improvements. A doctor and a missionary had contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia and were airlifted to a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Both of these patients saw their conditions approve by varying degrees after they received an experimental drug that has been previously tested on monkeys. However, the drug can still not be determined as the all-curing magic drug for the Ebola virus.
As with many things in the news, there is great controversy regarding the Ebola crisis. People are arguing that there is a greater stress on making sure that the American victims are treated with care immediately, whereas hundreds are suffering and are being blindly exposed to the virus in various parts of Africa. Controversy aside, this Ebola virus outbreak is a rapidly evolving crisis that is difficult to contain. It could be weeks, months, or even years before the virus is contained until it unfortunately comes back into the world in a different strain. Hopefully by then, a cure will have been found.
“Ebola – What You’re Not Being Told.” Conscious Media News. N.p., 5 Aug. 2014. Web. 05 Aug. 2014.
“Ebola Virus Disease.” World Health Organization. WHO, Apr. 2014. Web. 05 Aug. 2014.
Grady, Denise, and Marc Santora. “Patients’ Symptoms Raise Concern About Ebola in New York.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Aug. 2014. Web. 05 Aug. 2014.
Miles, Kathleen. “Health Expert: ‘No Strategic Plan’ For Controlling Ebola Outbreak.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 05 Aug. 2014. Web. 06 Aug. 2014.
Image Credit: “Colorized scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically infected VERO E6 cell (yellow-green).” Flickr: Creative Commons. Flickr, n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2014. <https://flic.kr/p/o15Y5n>.