Written by Alisha Klug, Media by Jack Wang
On Tuesday, September 16, President Obama made an announcement declaring a “major increase” on the United States’ response the the Ebola outbreak. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 2400 people have died due to this outbreak, and thousands more are infected. WHO is calling it the most deadly ebola outbreak in history.
About the Ebola Virus
The Ebola Virus is an infectious disease transmitted through touch. It is severe, and often fatal to humans (the average fatality rate is 50%). The first outbreaks happened in Western Africa in remote villages near rainforests.
Many think that fruit bats are where the Ebola virus originated, and was introduced to human through close contact with blood, organs, or bodily fluids of infected animals. Funerals for people who died from Ebola where direct contact with the body can also play a role in the transmission of the virus.
Rehydration and treatment of specific symptoms helps the infected patients survive. There is no proven treatment for the virus itself, but blood products, immune therapies, and drug therapies are potential treatments being evaluated. There are no licensed vaccines available yet, but two are being tested.
Steps are being made towards preventing the virus through awareness campaigns. Basically the idea is to get people to take steps towards being on the safe side. Some of the things being talked about is wearing gloves when handling animals and cooking meat all the way before eating it, wearing gloves when taking care of patients with the virus, and prompt and safe burial of the dead.
Currently the outbreak is out of control. Hospitals and treatment centers are overflowing with patients, and there are still thousands with the virus who have nowhere to go. People are dying on the streets and in their homes. The U.S. plans to start build 17 new treatment centers, each with 100 beds. About 3,000 American military personnel, as well as physicians and nurses are on their way to Liberia and Senegal. These brave men and women are to train the health care workers already in these countries on how to treat the virus.
Experts are saying that is is highly unlikely that there will be an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. There are no reported cases of Ebola in North America, and the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) is working on a plan of action in case Ebola ever does make its way to the U.S.
Video from: The Wall Street Journal