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Disease News | Updates => Africa => Topic started by: Hollywood on August 25, 2014, 09:57:41 pm

Title: Ebola
Post by: Hollywood on August 25, 2014, 09:57:41 pm (
It’s one of the deadliest diseases on Earth, with a fatality rate as high as 90 percent. It’s also grotesque, sometimes causing bleeding from the eyes, ears, mouth and rectum and a bloody full-body rash leading to a quick demise. Ebola virus disease fascinates worldwide though its spread has been limited to sporadic epidemics in Africa. It’s one of a handful of illnesses that are so deadly that governments consider it a threat to national security. Each wave of new cases raises questions about what can be done for its victims, how to prevent public panic and the best way to protect against the virus.

The Situation

The current Ebola outbreak is the worst on record and is centered in the area where Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea meet. Reports began in March and the death toll began to accelerate in July, topping 1,400 by late August. Nigeria had its first deaths after an infected man flew to Lagos, a city of 20 million people. Aid workers have been taken to the U.S. for treatment and given experimental drugs, raising questions about who should have access to them. This wave of Ebola is the first in West Africa, an area with an acute shortage of doctors. It could take several months to stem the tide. The disease is being transmitted by victims who are avoiding hospitals because of stigma and fear, as well as unsafe burial practices. Efforts to contain the outbreak have been hampered by a lack of supplies, along with hostility to medical workers and populations that questioned whether the disease really exists. International aid groups including Doctors Without Borders have set up isolation units using biohazard suits and more than $200 million has been pledged to help stop the illness. Ebola jumps to humans from infected animals that live in the rainforest through contact with blood and other secretions from animals like chimpanzees, gorillas and bats. It spreads among humans the same way, with medical workers and family members the most at risk. With the current strain of Ebola, sick people begin to erupt with symptoms four to six days after exposure. Liberia and Sierra Leone began to quarantine villages, shutting schools and markets. Guinea and Cameroon have banned the sale and eating of bats. Governments around the world are on high alert and travelers were checked at borders and airports for signs of the disease. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international public health emergency, but stopped short of recommending a general travel and trade ban. A separate outbreak reported in late August may have killed as many as 13 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.