The Ebola Outbreak
The big scare of 2014
What is Ebola?
The Ebola virus is a disease that spreads by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person. Symptoms start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus. Humans infected will have a fever, sore throat , muscle pain, headaches, vomiting, and decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Some will also bleed internally and externally. No treatment or vaccine for the virus is currently available. Ebola was first identified in 1976 in Sudan and Zaire. Through 2013, there was a reported total of 1,716 cases. The largest outbreak to date is in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. As of November 2014, the outbreak has 14,098 reported cases and 5,489 deaths.
The first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States was in Dallas at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The second U.S. case was a nurse who cared for the first patient at the same hospital. A third case was at the same place, another healthcare worker caring for the patient. Most recently, a volunteer medical helper who returned to the United States from Guinea, tested positive for Ebola in New York City where he was cared for in isolation, and released virus free.
New Drugs Under Study
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any treatments for Ebola. Two American health workers who were infected in Liberia are being treated with a drug that is under study.The drug is called ZMapp.
Ebola is Not a Risk to the Public in the United States
U.S citizens are not at risk for Ebola unless they are in contact with the bodily fluids of someone with Ebola while they have symptoms. Infections come from close contact with an infected person, especially with blood, body fluids, or contaminated needles late in the virus.