The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has brought up serious concerns around the world. The virus started in March of this year in Guinea. Since then, it has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, and Nigeria.
Ebola is a highly contagious virus. It starts out with flu like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and stomach aches. It leads to severe internal bleeding and eventually, blood vessels in the body leak fluids which cause blood pressure to drop. Once the person’s blood pressure falls, vital organs begin to fail. Scientists have not yet found a promising cure for ebola. Some patients survive but have to be nursed through the illness, and have doctors maintain their blood pressure. The disease is spread through bodily fluids such as sweat, blood, and saliva. It is still severely contagious after death, and many people contract the sickness when preparing bodies for burials.
Ebola can survive on different surfaces such as infected gloves and needles. Doctors and nurses have an extremely high chance of contracting the disease. Rubbing eyes and touching mouths are some ways people get the sickness.
Nancy Writebol was working as a missionary for SIM USA in Liberia and was infected with the virus in July. She returned to the United States to receive an experimental treatment. She was treated alongside Dr. Kent Bradley, a missionary who was working with Samaritan’s Purse. Both of them were released this past month and are now Ebola free. Another SIM USA doctor, who has not been identified, came down with Ebola. He has not returned to the United States for treatment yet and SIM USA is determining their options.
In 1976, Ebola was discovered in Sudan. Since then, there have been outbreaks in Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The latest outbreak in 2014 has been the worst since 1976. Over 5800 people have been infected and over 3000 have passed away. Scientists believe that bats are the reason for the outbreak. Surfaces covered with infected bat droppings are some ways the disease has been contracted.
This virus is terribly dangerous and something that the world needs to be aware of. This past week President Obama announced that the United States will be sending military support to Africa along with doctors, portable hospitals, and medical facilities. Obama hopes to control the Ebola and prevent a global spread.