The 2014 Ebola outbreak has become the largest Ebola outbreak to ever occur. Originating in Guinea, the outbreak has now spread to other countries in West Africa such as Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. As of Nov, 4, there has been a total of 13,268 cases of Ebola, but only 8,168 laboratory confirmed cases according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Death tolls are continuing to rise, surpassing 4,960 because of the inability to treat patients in West Africa.
Ebola is a rare and deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body. As the virus spreads through the body, it damages your immune system and internal organs. Eventually, Ebola causes the amount of blood-clotting cells to drop, which results in uncontrollable bleeding.There is a period of time between the infection of the patient and the time that they finally experience symptoms. It can be spread from person to person by skin contact and bodily fluids. Ebola cannot be spread through air, water, or food.
Countries in Africa that are experiencing an active outbreak have been screening all passengers on planes for Ebola. Although many West African countries are screening passengers to ensure Ebola does not spread further, the examiner may not be able to catch passengers who have recently been infected. During the short incubation time that infected patients they are able to get on planes and spread it by visiting countries.
Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old lawyer, was infected with the virus while working in Liberia. Sawyer and one other aid worker were brought to the U.S. for treatment. Sawyer was in Liberia caring for his sick sister who had Ebola, although he did not know at the time. He is one of the first Americans to contract the virus.
Currently there are no vaccines for Ebola that have been put through human trials. Some treatments have been tested on animals and been proven effective. American aid worker, Rick Sacra, 51, has recently been released from three weeks of isolation at the Nebraska Medical Center. There Sacra received an experimental drug called TKM-Ebola and two blood transfusions from another American aid worker that survived the disease. Doctors believe that the blood transfusions will help infected patients fight off the disease.The best thing for someone to do who is experiencing symptoms of Ebola is to see a doctor immediately.
Recently the CDC has confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan had traveled to Liberia and arrived back in the U.S. on Sept, 20. The CDC Director, Thomas Frieden, addressed the public about the individual with the virus. Duncan began to experience symptoms a few days after his arrival back in the U.S. When Duncan first visited the hospital, he was sent home under the belief he only had a mild fever. A few days later he was admitted into the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
After those few days of experiencing the beginning of symptoms, Duncan came into contact with dozens of people. Duncan’s family including his wife, child, and two nephews have been kept in their apartment where Duncan was ill. CDC officials are working on identifying people that came in contact with Duncan, So far, the virus has been contained to the Duncan family.Recently, Craig Spencer, a 33 year-old doctor, has survived Ebola. Days after returning from Guinea Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola. After 3 weeks of quarantine and hospitalization, Spencer is declared Ebola free. Currently there are no U.S. hospitals are treating Ebola patients.