BY DONNA WESTFALL
CREDIT TO WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION AND
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
Should we worry or is it contained within Africa’s borders?
Dr. Kent Brantly, the American stricken with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia, and a second U.S. aid worker who contracted Ebola alongside Brantly, missionary Nancy Writebol will both be treated in the US.
As of July 30, 2014, the number of deaths in Africa so far; 932. How is that possible? Is has a 2 to 21 day incubation period. They do not have specialized isolation units with top notch care.
Where and how did it start?
Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
Signs and symptoms:
This is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.
Standard treatment for has been limited to supportive therapy. This consists of:
- balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes
- maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure
- treating them for any complicating infections
A medication, never tested on humans before, was flown in to Liberia at sub-zero temperatures and had to be thawed naturally. Dr. Brantly selflessly said to give the first dose to his aid worker, Nancy Writebol, since she was older. But before the serum thawed, Brantly’s condition deteriorated rapidly exhibiting a rash and labored breathing. He thought he was going to die. The secret serum was administered through an IV to Brantly and within 20 minutes to an hour he had a near reversal. After being flown back to the States, he was able to walk with some assistance.
Writebol was given 2 subsequent doses.
CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said that if Ebola were to arrive here it poses little risk to the U.S. general population.