The Ebola virus was discovered in the 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Ebola virus—previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever—has been typically a disease of Central Africa, which it was until recently. There are five different confirmed strains of the virus. There is the Zaire Ebola, the Sudan, the Tai Forest, Bundibugyo virus, each of which can affect humans. The fifth strain, the Reston virus, has only caused disease in non-human primates. All of the variations of the disease get their name from the location near where they were discovered.
Ebola is a viral disease that is spread through body fluids: blood, feces, urine, semen, breast milk, sweat, saliva (much like Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)). Also the Ebola virus can be spread with infected needles, improperly sanitized medical equipment, or contact with open sores and lesions. Scientists are still trying to figure out which animal or animals are natural hosts who carry the virus. Many scientists suspect the fruit bat to be a natural host.
Also, macaque monkeys have been diagnosed with the virus but typically with the Reston strain, which only affects non-primates. Humans encounter the disease via close contact with an infected animal’s body fluids or by eating meat contaminated with the virus. Even after death of the afflicted body, mourners are still at risk by touching the deceased. The viral symptoms are much like the flu virus: fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, unexplained hemorrhage. Left untreated, the virus begins to “liquefy” the organs, mainly the blood vessels, liver, kidney, and the victim bleeds from every orifice (eyes, mouth, ears, and Mock 2 rectum).
Death is imminent. Symptoms appear two to twenty-one days after exposure to Ebola. The average is within eight to ten days. The virus is confirmed through a blood test detecting the thread shaped virus within the hosts’ blood. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has no anti- viral drug specifically developed for Ebola, only supportive care. To help the patient recover, they are given intravenous fluids, maintain oxygen status, blood pressure, and treating any secondary issues as they occur. The FDA is working with pharmaceutical companies on developing a vaccine to prevent Ebola.
Those who do get the disease and recover from it build antibodies that prevents the survivor from getting the disease again. Scientists believe that the antibodies last ten years and possibly longer. They are not sure if the recovered patient is susceptible to the other form. Chemists and the FDA have worked tirelessly over the past five decades to develop and approve new vaccinations to ward off various diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, small pox, and tuberculosis. Since the 1960s, federal funding has been cut from developing new drugs that cure diseases.
The money has been put into discovering how to treat chronic illnesses. In this time frame, microbiologists also started abandoning the field of infectious diseases, because they felt there was not much more to be discovered in the line of antibiotics. There was more money to be made in treatment rather than in a cure. By the 1980s, the microbiology field had started to dwindle. According to an article from CQ researcher, Combating Infectious Diseases: “Money in this country for health-care is used for after people get sick,” says Barry R. Bloom, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Howard.
Hughes Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. “Who makes money when you prevent disease? ” Brian Mahy, director of the U. S. Mock 3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Viral and Rickettsial disease division, says inadequate funding for drug research has worsened the plight of victims of emerging infections such as Ebola. “I think it’s a shame that we have absolutely nothing we can offer – a serum or a vaccine or a drug – for what everyone agrees is probably the most horrible infectious disease that we know about. ”
Ebola had been a disease that plagued Central Africa at different times. The disease kills so quickly that it had not had the time to spread across the continent. This was true until recently. With the capabilities of travel and population growth, diseases have a new venue. How can humans control and conquer the spread of this dreadful disease? In December of 2013 in West Africa, a deadly disease starts to run amok, having an extremely high mortality rate of the people contaminated with this deadly virus. By March of 2014, the virus has spread to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone with the highest concentration of death being in the ninety percentile of the population who fall victim to the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officials called this outbreak “one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks that we have ever faced” (Issues & Controversies). Without knowing an official cause, host, and having no approved vaccination for the virus, the nations must work together to try to control the disease from spreading farther.
With past outbreaks being in rural, less populated areas, controlling the infection was relatively easy: keep the patient isolated, track down and monitor the people they were in contact with, and give supportive care. This time the virus is striking close to the capital of Guinea, which has a population of two million. Teams from all over the world converge on the region to investigate the outbreak. WHO and the CDC are amongst the agencies searching for the identification of the disease along with Mock 4 the International Humanitarian Organization Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders).
“This most recent outbreak is the largest in history so far, with an estimate of 7,157 infections and 3,300 deaths” according to figures released on October 1 by the WHO (TIME October 2014). Once it was recognized that Ebola was the culprit, Doctors realized how to control the spread of the virus. Getting people to listen to the professionals’ advice is difficult, because most in the West Africa countries do not believe that Ebola exists. Patients’ families would “rescue” them from the confines to take them to witch doctors, only to fall victim to the illness themselves while spreading the disease farther by taking the ill out around the public.
When a victim would pass, families and mourners would grieve over the body, touching, mourning, and giving a proper ethical burial. These actions only lead to spreading the disease more. In July 2014, two American health care workers became infected while working in Liberia. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were rescued by specially designed medical evacuation aircraft and brought back to The United States. Both patients were flown to the Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia located by the U. S. Center for Disease headquarters. They were given an experimental drug known as ZMapp and both survived.
At this time, it is unknown if the drug saved their lives or if the supportive care they received was the main factor. The co- producers of ZMapp—Glaxo-SmithKline and the National Institutes of Health—are in early stages of evaluating the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness of stimulating the immune systems response. The pace to develop a new vaccine has been expedited with the recent outbreak. Still, it is a long process with many clinical trials to insure the capabilities and safety of the drug.
“The best defense to prevent Ebola from spreading is through public health measures, including good Mock 5 infection control practices, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, and provision of personal protective equipment (PPE),” says CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden. The majority of Americans started to take interest of this new pandemic occurring in West Africa when a man from Liberia, Thomas Duncan, arrived in Dallas, Texas in late September, carrying the dreadful virus. Duncan was the first person diagnosed in the U. S. with Ebola. He died on October 8th, 2014. Shortly after his death, two nurses who cared for Duncan contracted the virus.
Being a health care worker and having been given the knowledge on how to protect themselves, how could this happen? Was the virus mutating into being air borne? Fear spread. Americans wanted to know how to stay safe and how to protect themselves and their families. The President of the United States, along with the CDC, tried to reassure everyone that the virus was controlled. Society wanted more. The government was claiming that they had the issue under control. They know how to stop the spread of the disease. Officials were trying not to incite fear but didn’t offer direct answers.
Social media was winning spreading information, whether it was correct or incorrect. One way to stop the virus, isolation is key. The majority population wanted air travel halted to areas where the disease was running ramped, shut down the boarders, control supplies from infected areas, have a proactive approach over our lives. Health care workers are directed with the proper information to avoid direct contact with body fluids and best personal protective equipment to do so, but still the virus got to the two nurses. We must be more proactive and arm ourselves with knowledge.
When a person is sick, with the related symptoms: ask if they traveled to a country that the virus is known to be occurring, if they have been exposed or potentially around an infected person, Stay aware of personal surrounding, wash your hands, and protect yourself, especially if there is a unknown factor of Mock 6 why someone is ill, do not eat raw meat—especially bush meat (bats, monkeys, lion etc. ) or drink raw milk. Knowledge is critical. For now the Ebola virus has not mutated into an air borne virus. Ebola is only transmitted through body fluid contract, much like the HIV virus.
Until there is more research to find out the reservoir host and the capabilities of a vaccine, do not visit infected countries, if possible. The Ebola virus is more contained and controlled in the United States. As Americans we are capable of more healthy sanity measures. We are more recorded in mass travel as well. There is more than a person can see or do in our own beautiful country. Get out and enjoy the greatest county in the world. Be cautious and alert to people who appear ill. Even avoid contact but live your life without the fear of Ebola. Mock 7.
Baker, Aryn, and Alexandra Sifferlin. “Racing Ebola. (Cover Story). ” Time 184. 14 (2014): 38. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 6 Nov. 2014. Cooper, Mary H. “Combating Infectious Diseases. ” CQ Researcher 9 June 1995: 489-512. Web. 6 Nov. 2014. “Deadly Ebola Moves into West Africa (Special Report). ” Issues & Controversies. InfoBase Learning, April 2014. Web. 2 November 2014. “Ebola (The Ebola Virus). ” Center for Disease Control, 12 November 2014, Web, 4 November 2014. “Ebola Outbreak in Africa (Special Report). ” Issues & Controversies. InfoBase Learning, Nov. 2000. Web 31 October 2014.