News — October 06, 2014 by Nick Linfesty
Ebola: A Rising Threat

How big is Ebola going to get?  Ebola began its road to death and destruction in 1976 first popping up in Sudan and Zaire.  Its first attack infected over 284 people with 53% dying.  It struck again a few months later infecting 318 people and killing a monumental 88%.  As much as scientists tried to isolate Ebola it has still never been eradicated, and has remained out of public view for the most part.  The last time it was seen was in 1994 when a female scientist did an autopsy on a dead chimpanzee from Cote d’Ivore, accidentally infecting herself.

Fast forward 20 years to 2014.  Ebola is a disease most of us have never had any experience with.  Ebola began its new chapter back in December 2013. It was first seen in Guinea and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Concerning the United States in this matter the first known case was reported on September 30, 2014.  New cases are popping up left and right, from Hawaii to Dallas.  This is the worst case since the discovery back in 1976.  A report published by WHO and the CDC show that as of September 29 there have been 7,192 cases leaving 3,286 dead.  With the global concern and lack of major help, many are left to believe that Ebola will not be stopped in time. A quote from the president of Médecins Sans Frontières, a company working in the affected regions, stated that the lack of UN help has led to instability. “Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it.” A UN spokesperson responded with “they could stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 6 to 9 months, but only if a ‘massive’ global response is implemented.”

The Director-General of the World Health Organization brought to light that this outbreak is the worst ever seen and is racing away from containment. As of September 23, in the three most affected regions, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone there was only 893 treatment beds when they needed 2,122. In a final quote from WHO,  “the Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa is the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times. Never before in recorded history has a biosafety level four pathogen infected so many people so quickly, over such a broad geographical area, for so long.”

What can we expect over the next few months?  An increase of infection by a brutal disease?  Death by the thousands?  Probably none of these scenarios will play out without complete support from every country to stop this dangerous disease or it will continue to cause a lot of harm.

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Nick Linfesty

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