Humans fear the natural calamity as they come unknowingly and bestow mercy on none. But in 21st century, people are afraid that death can come unto them by almost anything and everything around them. Humans have seen huge technological and scientific development. They have detected the very reason of emergence for various diseases, yet there are some that can be diagnosed but cannot be cured. Many deadly diseases can emerge from anywhere but spread like a wildfire in the whole world. One such brutal disease is Ebola virus disease. The Ebola outbreak in Africa is the world’s deadliest to date.
Although it is not entirely clear how Ebola initially spreads from animals to humans, the spread is believed to involve direct contact with an infected wild animal or bat. On the basis of evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That time it was thought to be originated in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat.
But the spread of the disease was not as devastating as the loss of human life was comparatively less. Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant director-general for emergency operations: “This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases.”
Ebola Virus Disease, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a disease which eventually kills the human who carries it if immediate treatment is not received. Broadly there are five species of Ebola, but the one currently ravaging thousands of people is the Zaire virus. Early Ebola symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, cough, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea. As these could be symptoms of other diseases, it’s difficult to diagnose Ebola in the initial stage.
The time it takes from exposure to Ebola to actually getting sick, known as the incubation period, is anywhere from 2 to 21 days. It completely disrupts the immune system of the patients. Later symptoms of Ebola can appear quickly. Due to internal and external bleeding, the patient’s eyes may become red, and they may vomit blood, have bloody diarrhoea, and suffer cardiovascular, liver or kidney collapse and eventually leading to death. Sadly, nearly half of the cases of Ebola viral infection in West Africa have resulted in death.
One is not at risk for Ebola infection unless in direct contact with bodily fluids of someone with Ebola while they have viral symptoms such as fever, vomiting, and cough. New infections come from close contact with an infected person, especially with blood, body fluids, or contaminated needles. Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. It is believed that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years. President Barack Obama pacified his nation saying:
“Ebola is actually a difficult disease to catch…It’s not transmitted through the air like the flu. You cannot get it from just riding on a plane or a bus.”
The current outbreak of the Ebola virus mainly affects three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Around 13,000 cases and more than 4,900 deaths have been reported across these countries. To stop the spread of Ebola, the WHO is coordinating the construction and staffing of treatment centres across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Yet one of the country’s challenges has been the lack of laboratories to test Ebola. The WHO recently reported that the number of new Ebola cases could reach 10,000 per week by December. There are more than a dozen Ebola drugs in development, but none has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Several of these have been approved by FDA for emergency use in the current crisis.
WHO has developed detailed advice on Ebola infection prevention and control. To avoid the spread of this deadly disease certain steps can be taken. First, avoid or reduce any and all contact with the infected – including animals. This can be done through protective clothing such as gloves and head-to-toe gowns. Next, people should make sure they thoroughly wash up and keep themselves clean at all times. Healthcare workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply extra infection control measures to prevent contact with the patient’s blood and body fluids. Additionally, people involved in the burial of an infected person’s dead body should properly dispose it.
Comparatively fewer cases have been reported in countries other than in Africa. Yet nations do not blindly ignore as being immune. They screen people at airport to check the infected patients are handled with care. The cold, hard truth is that Ebola is a brutally efficient killer for which there is no cure at the moment. It would not be wrong to say that nature is playing its revenge on humanity for the evil deeds done to it. The modern day practices are coming with a baggage hard to stand. Evidence of Ebola has certainly awakened the human’s helplessness.