Ebola continues to spread chaos around the world


Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons

A preview of the Ebola virus.

Disha Palimar, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Ebola virus outbreak of this year first began in February and since then, 8,997 people in the countries of West Africa including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been infected with the virus while an estimated 4,493 people have died from it, according to BBC News.

The first documented cases of Ebola emerged in 1976 in Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 1976, there have been several recorded outbreaks of the virus in Sudan, the Philippines, Uganda, South Africa and Gabon, but none of these outbreaks has reached the level of severity that the outbreak this year has, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC).

Four different strains of Ebola can cause the virus: the Ebola virus, Sudan virus, Tai Forest Virus and Bundibugyo virus, according to the CDC. The virus attaches to the surface of cells and invades them, causing them to rupture and spread infectious material throughout the body, according to Dr. Michael Smith from webmd.com. The virus can be spread through contact with body fluids of an infected person or through contact with contaminated substances and objects such as water or unsanitized needles.

Currently there is no vaccine that can immediately cure the disease, but doctors administer blood transfusions and intravenous fluids to patients in order to fight against it.  The virus has a 60%-70% fatality rate, according to Dr. Christopher Dye, the director of strategy in the office of the director general at the World Health Organization (WHO).

There have been eight cases of Ebola that have occurred in the United States since Aug. 2, according to the New York Times. Three of the victims recovered and four of them are still currently in treatment. Thomas Duncan, a man who flew from Liberia to Dallas after falsifying his papers, was the only one to die as a result of the fatal illness. Airports located in Washington D.C., Chicago and Newark, New Jersey are preparing to start measuring the temperatures of passengers flying into the country from areas in West Africa battling Ebola as part of an initiative to enhance cautionary Ebola screening, according to abcnews.com; this is already being done at Kennedy International Airport in New York.

“Growing up in America, we never really see this kind of stuff happening around us,” senior Caryn Wong said. “It really makes you appreciate the kind of life we get to have here in the states because we have such a great quality of life and strong medical system. I just hope that the people in Africa can get as much help as possible.”

President Barack Obama has sent rapid response teams through the CDC to all areas within the United States where Ebola-infected patients were located and is still developing a strategy as to how he will deal with sending aid to West Africa, according to abcnews.com. The government and large medical organizations are primarily working towards containing the disease within West Africa so that it will hopefully die out without causing a global catastrophe.