If you didn’t know that first word it might sound merely like some exotic place to travel, but … Ebola is a scary disease. The thought of a disease that can cause you to start bleeding … everywhere and make you horribly infectious and has a 90% fatality rate. Yeah, that is more like a horror movie. It is something that they make movies about, like, “Contagion”. Who can even imagine it as something real, and up close?
This makes one wonder how the folks from the Democratic Republic of Congo feel … I mean, it’s named after the Ebola River. The river travels past the small town of Yambuku, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it was one of the first two places the disease appeared simultaneously in 1976. The other was the village of Nzara, Sudan in 1976. Now think about that other part again, the disease has a 90% fatality rate in the people who contracted the disease. People went to the funeral for a beloved family member, and if they touched him … They died.
Doctors who touched them, nurses who touched them … all dead.
Where is hope, though, even in a situation like that!
The World Health Organizations says “Ebola 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.”
People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory.
The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.
A Gorilla Conservation website that tracks Ebola because of its effects on ape populations found that each time there was an epidemic, there were massive declines in gorilla numbers, with ape populations in certain forests falling by more than 90% in just a few years or months (Huijbregts et al., 2003; Walsh et al., 2003; Bermejo et al., 2006; Caillaud et al., 2006; Devos et al., submitted).
The site is included in the bibliography below.
There may be an ecological disaster permeating the countryside of Liberia and Guinea, now, and they may not even know it. As with previous outbreaks, humans are not the only ones involved … Animals are also affected. The gift of Ebola keeps on giving …
That same conservation site also stated that there have been 13 outbreaks of Ebola in Africa (nine due to Ebola Zaire ); These are the same strain that is currently active in Guinea and Liberia. Another four outbreaks were to due to Ebola Sudan, and lastly there were two isolated cases … again one due to Ebola Zaire, the last Ebola Ivory Coast).
These outbreaks took place during three distinct periods (three between 1976 and 1979, four between 1994 and 1997, and six between 2000 and 2004). The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) website, claims ther have been as many as 12 outbreaks of Ebola since 2000; not including the current one. This would imply a minimum of 19 outbreaks since it was first discovered in 1976. It is a devastating disease that kills almost everyone carrying it in a matter of days or weeks.
Note that the flutracker is very informative.
Looking at the World Health Organizations website you can see there are 5 Distinct known species of Genus Ebolavirus:
- Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)
- Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV)
- Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)
- Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)
- Tai Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).
As noted before, the strain we are seeing currently active is the Ebolavirus Zaire (EBOV). This strain can be transmitted by animals to humans, and by human to human transmission. There has been one accounting of a hunter in Liberia who was reportedly to trapping fruit bats. This person was said to have received no additional exposure to any other infected persons, and Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus(WHO). It is thought that he captured an infected bat, and while preparing the animal, he cut himself. This is usually conveyed as infected by bush meat.
A Summary By Country
As of 18:00 on 16 April, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 197 clinical cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), including 122 deaths. To date, 101 cases have been laboratory confirmed, including 56 deaths, 43 cases (33 deaths) meet the probable case definition for EVD and 53 cases (33 deaths) are classified as suspected cases. Twenty-four (24) health-care workers (HCW) have been affected with 13 deaths. Clinical cases of EVD have been reported from Conakry (47 cases, including 16 deaths), Guekedou (117/80), Macenta (22/16), Kissidougou (6/5), Dabola (4/4) and Djingaraye (1/1).
As of Wednesday April 16, 2014 in Liberia, there are a total of 27 suspect/confirmed Ebola cases, 13 deaths. 32 people completed a 21 day follow up. The Foya District, Lofa County, remains the epicentre of the outbreak. Suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola cases have been reported in Lofa (10), Margibi (6), Bong (4), Nimba (3), Montserrado (1) and Grand Cape Mount (1) Counties.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Mali has on the 16th April reported that the clinical samples on the 6 suspected cases have tested negative for ebolavirus.
On 15 April, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) Sierra Leone provided a consolidated report of surveillance activities conducted in that country from 19 March onwards. A total of 12 suspected cases have been identified during that period. Two previously reported suspected EVD deaths occurred in individuals from one family who died in Guinea and their bodies repatriated to Sierra Leone for burial. All of the 15 case contacts have completed 21 days of medical follow-up and have remained well. The Metabiota laboratory team working at the Kenema Government Hospital Lassa Fever Isolation Unit have received and tested clinical samples from 11 of the suspected cases using 2 different real-time PCR protocols for Ebola Zaire, other viral haemorrhagic fevers and important locally endemic pathogens. All of the samples have tested negative for ebolavirus and the other pathogens included in the test panel.
Tat is not the entire scope of the project.
There are approximately 65 public health experts working with WHO and its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) partners are working with WHO on the ground supporting Ministries of Health to establish care protocols for clinical management in the two countries. They are also trying to educate the local populations, doing lab work etc. There are also over 640 people still actually working out in the field tracking down anyone and everyone these people spoke to, talked to, got a ride with, or even if they had sex with someone … (in 6 areas of Guinea, and 4 in Liberia). During this time over 220 people have become ill, and 135 have died.
The European Union increased its immediate health assistance to ‘1.1 million. Japan gave $523,000 through Unicef, and the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology said that the borders should be closed, and the outbreak contained to Central Africa, but … all and all … it looks like they might have it under control.
This does little to abate fears by some like Joaquin Portillo, however, because if you read his statement in La Prensa Grafica carefully. You realize … He said that there already was an outbreak in Europe:
“Experts said that if the right circumstances exist, the Ebola virus could be transmitted to Europe if not contained in Africa; and considered that international organizations should ‘close borders’ and contain the outbreak in central Africa.”
The warning came in the XVIII Congress organized by the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, President of the Scientific Committee, Joaquin Portillo warned that any aircraft that reaches a European airport from Central Africa “can produce a spread” of Ebola virus. Portillo said that citizens can have the “assurance” that no such ailments have been detected yet. He also said they were “prepared to handle systems” and recalled that one of the first outbreaks of Ebola that was known was in Germany …”
There was actually a limited outbreak of Ebola in Europe already. This is to say, someone stuck themselves with a contaminated needle and was given an experimental vaccine …
There are no vaccines for Ebola.
Japan Provides Emergency Assistance to UNICEF in Response to the Ebola Outbreak in Guinea 4-4-2014. Retrieved: April 20, 2014.
“Scientist Healthy 21 days after Ebola Accident,”April 2, 2009. Retrieved: April 20, 2014.
Ebola virus circulating in Guinea is new strain. AFP 4/17/2014 7:22:29 PM. Retrieved: April 20, 2014.
EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE EPIDEMIC IN LIBERIA Situation Report (Sitrep No. 11) as at 23:00 Hrs; 13thApril, 2014. Retrieved: April 20, 2014.
Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update. Disease Outbreak News. World Health Organization. 17 April 2014. Retrieved: April 20, 2014.
Liberia – Ebola: 26 suspect/confirmed cases, 13 deaths as of April 13, 2014 retrieved: April 20, 2014
Facts on Ebola virus: human and animal outbreaks. Retrieved: April 20, 2014.
Ebola could reach Europe April 20, 2014 to the (s) 6:0 – Efe. . Retrieved: April 20, 2014.