In Guinea on December 2013, the fatal Ebola virus disease (EVD) broke out across West Africa, and in a matter of months spread from Guinea to Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. An airborne disease, it was formally deemed a public health emergency of international concern on August 8, 2014.
On August 13, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 1,145 dead and 2,127 suspected.
Several different groups and organizations have since come together to aid the victims, suspects, and families of those affected around the world, including groups like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Commission, as well as the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
In many neighboring countries, travel beyond shared borders with Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone has been indefinitely banned. Médecins Sans Frontières doctors have predicted that it will take minimum six months to get this viral outbreak under control.
The outbreak has thus far received extreme media coverage via television, radio, internet broadcast, and other public news sources.
The origins of the virus are yet unconfirmed, however, according to prior investigation, “Researchers believe that the first human case of the Ebola virus disease leading to the 2014 outbreak was a 2-year-old boy who died 6 December 2013 in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture, Guinea. His mother, 3-year-old sister, and grandmother then became ill with symptoms consistent with Ebola infection and died. People infected by those victims spread the disease to other villages” (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_West_Africa_Ebola_outbreak).
Kenyan Airways, an airline from one of the most popular transport hubs in use, announced the suspension of flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone per the government’s advisement, in light of the grand-scale danger of the outbreak.
Other countries that have suspected or non-transmissive cases are Benin, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and the United States.
At this point, there is no proven ebola virus treatment or cure, but it is recommended that a victim or potential victim minimize invasive procedures, balance fluids and electrolytes to rehydrate, and take anticoagulants as soon as symptoms show in order to control disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Though the future may seem grim, scientists, doctors, and all others invested in this epidemic’s cure remain hopeful as they continue to seek a remedy that will stop the increasing number of fatalities. Liberia’s information minister Lewis Brown said that three African doctors being treated in Liberia with a rare experimental drug have been showing significant improvement in their symptoms.
If you or someone you know is showing signs of symptoms of the ebola virus, act immediately. Contact your local health care provider and get educated on the outbreak so that you can be part of the force that stops it from spreading.
Visit http://www.afro.who.int/en/clusters-a-programmes/dpc/epidemic-a-pandemic-alert-and-response/outbreak-news.html to access regular updates on the status of the outbreak.