Already claiming 330 lives, the largest outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever since the disease’s discovery in 1976 is spreading uncontrollably in West Africa.
This deadly virus has already spread throughout three different countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Doctors Without Borders have reached its limit to respond and are struggling to keep the virus contained in part because people who are infected do not want their neighbors to know they have it.
People are infected with Ebola through close contact with the blood, mucous, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people.
According to the World Health Organization, signs and symptoms of the disease is sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and sore throat. These symptoms are followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
The time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is two to twenty-one days. Therefore, one may be infected and not even know it until after 21 days.
Since people move around a lot in West Africa and may not know they are infected, this disease could easily spread to people that may end up traveling to other continents.
There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola so containing the virus can only be done by treating the ill and isolating them to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the medical group in Brussels, told The Associated Press on Friday, "There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency, otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries."
As stated by NPR, public health specialist Armand Sprecher of Doctors Without Borders said, “This time around the fear is that the outbreak will become a regional health issue that will not go away.”
Thus far, news coming from the people who are responding to this crisis is only negative. Without any positive outlook regarding this outbreak, people need to remain informed and stay cautious.