Should we worry about EBOLA?

Somehow Ebola doesn’t seem real trial. With symptoms like internal and external bleeding, often from the nose, eyes, or mouth, it sounds more like a scary illness you expect to see in a Hollywood blockbuster such as “Contagion”. But Ebola is real, and the current death toll stands at 672, with a total of reported cases numbering 1203.

Ebola isn’t airborne; the disease is spread by contact with contaminated body fluids, so the thing to watch is where cases are showing up. Up until now, the outbreak has mostly been centred in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Where Did This Ebola Outbreak Begin?

The first case in this outbreak was recorded in Guinea in February 2014. In just over two months the number of cases in Guinea had risen to 242, and Ebola had started spreading to the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia.

There has been one death related to Ebola in Lagos, Nigeria. In Hong Kong, the China Daily has reported that a woman who recently returned from Africa with symptoms similar to the Ebola virus underwent testing in a hospital isolation ward, but tested negative for the disease. Read here to find out about the causes and symptoms of Ebola.

Doctor Fighting Ebola Dies

Sheik Umar Khan, the Sierra Leonean doctor trying to stem the outbreak, died of Ebola on 29 July. Credited with treating over 100 patients, and considered a hero, virologist Khan was moved to a treatment ward run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the far north of Sierra Leone, but he succumbed to the illness on Tuesday.

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The current Ebola outbreak seems to have a 60% fatality rate, but the disease has been known to kill up to 90% of those who contract it. There’s no cure, and the treatment given is to relieve symptoms such as fever, dehydration and pain.

South Africa Remains Vigilant

According to Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa remains on high alert, and precautions are being taken to prevent the virus from entering the country. This includes thermal scanners at airports, officials at all the country’s ports of entry being on the look-out, and ordering health care workers to be vigilant about travellers who have visited West Africa.

Sources: Reuters,

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There’s an Ebola outbreak in West Africa
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