The most deadly strain in the Ebola family of viruses causes fever, weakness of body, diarrhea, at times internal bleeding, and in more than 55 per cent of cases, death. And right now, it’s sweeping through West Africa.
The latest news sees multiple people being tested for the virus in New York, sparking a rumour avalanche across the Internet that perhaps the authorities are not revealing everything that they should be. People are afraid that the virus that is dropping victims like flies throughout Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria has come to the United States.
The ever-illuminating Donald Trump had his own words for Americans afflicted with the virus: they should not be treated in the States. Doctors who are treating potential victims of the virus are receiving hate mail by the score. Americans are afraid, and with some justification: this virus has no known cure. While the FDA has authorized the use of an unapproved virus test, there seems to be little hope for a vaccine until 2015.
But it’s not like North America hasn’t seen health scares like this before. SARS, Swine Flu, and the Avian flu are the most notable of these. The Western world, fueled by public panic and more than adequate resources, has been able to deal with these potential epidemics quite well. This however, is not the case thus far in Africa.
Ebola victims lie dead in the streets in Liberia, abandoned because no one knows what to do with them. For a disease that is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, there is high need for hygienic practices when dealing with victims. Unfortunately, conditions are often not ideal, and hygienic practices become harder to maintain, helping cause what the World Health Organization is calling “the worst outbreak of Ebola in African history.”
Secret serums and potential cures have become of the utmost importance. Labs are working everywhere looking to come up with a cure for the disease. If all goes well, in time a viable vaccine will be made that will be able to bring this historic outbreak to an end.
Photo (Flickr CC) by European Commission DG ECHO.