Update: Ebola virus in Africa, Middle East
The deadly Ebola virus is spreading rapidly in West Africa and the main concern is its spread from its point of origin and be carried possibly to other countries, including the Middle East.
With the death toll rapidly nearing the 1,000 mark, West Africa’s latest Ebola virus epidemic is already the worst outbreak of its kind to occur according to the World Health Organization and other international public health bodies.
Originally confined to three West African countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon, the virus, found to be as much as 90% fatal in some rural areas, has now spread to neighboring Nigeria with 7 cases reported resulting in 2 deaths. The spread of this deadly disease has been so rapid that a representative of the international medical organization Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) for Libera, Lindis Hurum, told the BBC that "Our capacity is stretched beyond anything that we ever done before in regards to Ebola response. We are definitely seeing the whole health care system (of Liberia) is falling apart".
The only good news is that the American physician Dr. Kent Brantly, brought to the US for treatment, is showing improvement in his condition.
In the case of Nigeria, Africa's most populated country, the virus arrived there when a US-Liberian passenger from Liberia arrived in Lagos showing advanced symptoms of the disease. He died a few days later; and a nurse who was treating him also caught the disease and died as well.
As of this writing, 7 persons in Nigeria have caught the disease with another 139 under observation. "We may have started too late in raising our alert for this disease" a Nigerian public health official was quoted as saying.
Although a vaccine to treat the disease is now undergoing trials, it may only be sometime in 2015 before it is ready to be administered to the general public, says WHO Director General Margaret Chan, who declared the Ebola virus epidemic to be an "international public health emergency".
Image of woman wearing face mask via Shutterstock.
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