Good The Ebola Virus And Its Effect On Africa And The World Research Paper Example
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Disease, particularly, virulent pathogens inspire a great deal of fear all around the world. People imagine terrifying diseases that run rampant through the populations on an apocalyptic scale. While some diseases, like the common cold and the flu, do not spark much concern, there are others whose mere names alone can put people into a panic; like small pox. However, there is another that is often remarked as the most frightening of all, That disease is the ebola virus, Ebola outbreaks are rare but when they occur it’s both dangerous and serious. One of these rare occasions unfortunately occurred and continues to occur throughout regions of Africa in 2014. The outbreak is infecting many and claiming lives in large numbers and containing this outbreak completely has proven, helpful, but not absolute. Many people that were visiting and possibly exposed to the viral outbreak still managed to travel out of the country and off the continent, arriving in, both Western Europe and the United States (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). Greater measures should be taken to prepare, deter and eliminate ebola through an eventual cure, where it can no longer be such a distinct and lethal threat. In order to truly understand ebola, there is immediate and great need for deeper understanding of the disease through greater education; turning ebola from a topic guided by fear, but guided by competent and feasible efforts.
There are many people who perceive ebola to be akin to the modern day black plague, capable of spreading like wildfire. They imagine a sickness, like the bubonic plague, the disease responsible for the plague in the Middle Ages that claimed the lives of half of the population of Europe. Most people know the name “ebola,” know that it is a contagious and are subject to the fear it induces, but beyond that, the average person knows very little about the ebola virus. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), previously referred to as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, was first discovered in 1976 in Nzara region of the Sudan and in Yambuku, within the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, the Ebola River that runs through the latter’s region, and is named for this outbreak in the 1970s (World Health Organization, 2014). What has not changed since its discovery is that it is a threat, virulence and potential for mass infection.
Ebola is defined as a virus belonging to the Filoviridae family. There are five known strains of this virus, four of which, Zaire ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, Taï Forest ebolavirus and Bundibugyo ebolavirus are certain to cause sickness in human beings. The fifth virus, called Reston ebolavirus, is contagious among animals, including non-human primates (Bradford, 2014). Once ebola, seen right, has invaded the body, it kills many of the cells, even causing them to explode. This attack on the blood cells leads to excessive internal bleeding, drastic damage to organs and is destructive to the immune system, which of course can contribute to the infection from other opportunistic diseases. As the bleeding becomes worse it will fill up the skin with blood hemorrhaging from within, as seen left, pooling in appendage, like this man’s left hand. The symptoms of ebola infection are not, necessarily, immediate; the incubation period can vary from 2 to 21 day and include the following (World Health Organization, 2014).
Sudden Fever: high fevers are common as the body works to replenish the blood cells being damaged by the invading virus.
Fatigue: Sudden, unforeseen, exhaustion.
Aches and Pains: Muscle pains, severe headaches and sore throat are often experienced.
Diarrhea and Vomiting: This contributes to continuing patient weakness and dehydration in the body.
Damage to Organs: Diminished liver and kidney functions are often noted.
Bleeding: In the early stages internal and external bleeding may include bleeding from the gums and in the stool. Later this will become increasingly worse.
Diagnosing ebola can be incredibly problematic, which only makes its presence all the more frightening. Any person carrying ebola is only contagious when the sufferer becomes symptomatic (World Health Organization, 2015). However, the initial symptoms are similar to many other common illnesses, so people are less likely to worry about seeking immediate medical intervention. Many people would treat these symptoms as one would treat an unpleasant strain of the flu. That said once the infections becomes severe enough for sufferers to seek medical attentions it is all too late and too many people have already been exposed that an outbreak becomes potentially more and more possible. As seen right, the exposure chart, just how quickly a dangerous condition like ebola can spread. Each of these people is capable of being responsible for the infection and possible deaths of hundreds, thousands, if not millions, of people. Ebola, as mentioned, is believed to have originated in Africa, generally in rural areas, where interaction with infected animals, most commonly identified as bats, lead to human outbreaks. However, experienced and studies today are proving that ebola can be equally if not more lethal in urban areas as well. There have been, in total, 33 different ebola outbreaks since its discovery, the most recent in 2014 is proving, by far, to be the worst (Web MD, 2014).
In March of 2014 the first cases of an ebola outbreak was reported, within a little more than 6 months, more than 8,000 cases have been identified. This outbreak was attributed to migrating bats and their flight patterns which helped to bring the ebola virus into West Africa (Bradford, 2014). As of 2015, there are more than a million reported cases associated with this outbreak. The specific strain has been identified as a rare strain, Zaire ebolavirus, as the causative agent that began the 2014 outbreak. The greatest areas affected include Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea; there is also a smaller outbreak discovered in Nigeria (Gatherer, 2014). At this time, the infection rates have passed into the tens of thousands and in some areas there is a fatality rate as high as 90%. Quickly this outbreak had taken the lives of more than 10,000 people and that number may be higher due to the number of rural locales that may be suffering from the outbreak but unknown to researchers and medical personnel. As the studies of this outbreak continued it became all the more frightening when it was learned that people from the known regions where ebola infections were high, were leaving the countries and continent and traveling to other destinations. Cases were soon reported in Western Europe, beginning in Spain, and to the United States, in Southwestern states, including Texas. As far as current discussion only one of the American victims has died from the infection (BBC News-Africa, 2015).
It is important to understand that there is no cure for ebola and there is no vaccine developed that can protect anyone from being infected. However, research into the area is continual and some new prospects are proving to be promising; however, nothing has yet been proven effective on humans or approved for human applications. There are many around the world accuse the United States of hoarding a cure; making this international crisis something of unnecessary negative commentary (Fine, 2014). In the meantime, the medical professional that have been fighting the outbreak, from all over the world, agree that the people who are surviving ebola, do so because their own immune systems were able to hold out long enough to defeat the disease on its own. In the meantime all the medical community can offer is aid in keeping the sufferers hydrated and properly breathing (Bradford, 2014). In fact, it is these survivors than may play a very direct role in the future of ebola research. Those who survive carry antibodies that should make them immune to the particular strain, Zaire ebolavirus, which started this outbreak. These antibodies could play a huge role in how ebola is treated in the future (Fine, 2014).
Containment and control is not just an issue for medical professionals and the infected public, but also for the local, regional, national and international governments. The bulk of the African nations first infected have had a horrible time trying to create order and lessen the epidemic. However, of all the Africa nations infected, only Nigeria has been able to declare itself “ebola free.” This means that despite the 19 confirmed cases, 12 have survived and no new cases have been reported for more than 42 days. The Nigeria government delegated more than 11 million dollars to taking extreme and new efforts to contain the conditions and control the peoples who travel into the country, especially from other infected areas (Ikhuoria, 2014). Here in the United States there are protocols in place for such an outbreak, but that did not stop the patient in Texas, who traveled from the infected area to leave the airport and ultimately end up infecting two of the nurses that cared for him before his death. The United States played and is continuing to play; a significant role in 2014 outbreak. They have sent personnel, needed supplies, and allocated monies, more than $921million to aiding the containment and control in West Africa, while at the same time bolstering American preparedness at home. Many of the nations involved are not as economically sound as others and therefore may not have fared as well as they had without that international intervention. Ebola is disease that can be beaten and survived; one just has to have the means to treat the patient’s symptoms, until they are able to recover (Whitehouse.gov, 2015). The fight against ebola in Africa is far from over, but this last outbreak has taught everyone so much about the nature of such a massive outbreak, all of which, will only help all nations across the globe become more knowledgeable and prepared if or when it happens again.
Presently, some of the greatest concern involves the myths and realities concerning the ebola virus and how it is contracted and how it can present itself in a population. There are many people who believe that ebola is so ever-present now that it is literally floating around in the air. That is not an actual fact, at least, not yet. The medical researchers, studying this most recent outbreak, worry that containing the disease will become all the harder the longer it continues to go on. The greatest fear they argue is that ebola, like all viruses, have the potential to mutate. At this time ebola can only be contracted when one is directly exposed to an infected person’s boldly fluids, saliva, vomit and mucus. However, if given enough time, ebola could become an airborne virus. Making it far more dangerous and have the likelihood of spreading even more quickly with increasing mortality rates (Check, 2014).
There is still so much not known and not understood about the ebola virus, both among experts and layman. All the same, millions, of people are in continuing danger and this threat remains possible in the modern world and probable if the way such outbreaks are perceived and handled poorly. One of the most significant lessons medical professionals learned quickly is that while rural outbreaks are horrible, urban infections are far more dangerous (Osterholm, Moore & Gostin, 2015).According to studies this outbreak has already claimed five time more deaths than ebola’s original outbreak and all subsequent outbreaks combined That, for many, is a frightening statistics. Here in this very modern, technologically advanced era it can be difficult to understand how people have not managed to master the behaviors and outcomes of contracted diseases. There are more people dying today than ever before (BBC News-Africa, 2015). Today there are many expert and researchers argue that this outbreak, the worse of its kind, needs to be studied as it may help future medical professionals in hopes of developing a large scale approach and model that can aid in the preparedness, deterrence and elimination of ebola as a threat (Gomes, Pastore y Piontti & et. al, 2014).
The unprecedented ebola outbreak of 2014 should not be underestimated nor should the potential of ebola to cause an outbreak in other parts of the world be disregarded. There are two very important elements to successfully avoiding ebola infections and outbreaks in the future. The first and most significant is education. Everyone, whether medical professional, a schoolteacher, or average everyday citizens need to be more informed about diseases, like ebola, and how to properly prevent infections and productively approach such a event with an informed mentality (Chowell & Nishiura, 2014). Instead of allowing fear and panic to interfere with productive thinking and feasible actions in such situations communities can behave logically and much more successfully in their approach to such outbreaks (Bradford, 2014). Learning the difference between myths and facts concerning such diseases and maintaining an educated attitude will be immensely beneficial. Both on a personal and institutional level, there are methods to avoid contributing to a possible epidemic. Not handling wildlife and outdoor animals in general without wearing proper protection and followed by good hygiene. The same measures should be taken when caring for anyone who is symptomatic with illness. Finally a major beneficial contributor is being truly prepared with strategies to lessen the scale of an outbreak. By having theses preplanned measures to separate the symptomatic, regularly monitor the exposed and proper sterilization of personal and, especially, public environments will go a long way to lessening the impact of an ebola outbreak, or any other known disease that is a threat to human beings (World Health Organization, 2014).
Disease has always been a frightening, but unfortunate reality, of life. All species on Earth are susceptible to one kind of disease or another; human beings are certainly no exception. Ultimately, ebola is a very serious contagion that has proven itself capable of becoming a pandemic problem. The recent outbreak in Africa began and was able to spread to millions in less than a year, along with crossing borders and traveling to other continents. This is a powerful and profound reason that established the need for the public and healthcare professionals alike to have a more educated view on the spread of disease and participate in prevention measures. Additionally, greater and more efforts must continue to be developed by governments to protect their populaces from such outbreaks in the future. Over the next 5 to 10 years, it is likely that there will be far greater strides will be made in the realm of vaccination, maybe due to the information gained from this most recent outbreak. More so, as we learn more and more about the nature of infectious diseases our abilities, both, domestically and internationally will improve the types of future containment approaches and preparedness measures will improve making ebola, like many diseases before it, far less of a panic-inducing and threatening virus. That is the only way to truly defend ourselves against such a potentially rampant pathogen, at least until a viable cure or vaccine has been approved to treat such diseases in human beings. Until then, societies all across the globe, have a responsibility to take some of the initiative and take a more active role in protecting themselves and the people all the world from such outbreaks. In the end, ebola is not going anywhere, therefore people have no choice but to educate and prepare themselves for what may or may not ever occur. Regardless, the benefits of understanding ebola are the first and most important part of changing the damage it may attempt to do.
Bradford , A. (2014, October 16). Ebola: Causes, symptoms & treatment. Live Science Magazine, 1. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/48311-ebola-causes-symptoms-treatment.html
Check Hayden, E. (2014, August 28). Ebola virus mutating rapidly as it spreads. Nature News, 1. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/news/ebola-virus-mutating-rapidly-as-it-spreads-1.15777
Chowell, G., & Nishiura, H. (2014). Transmission dynamics and control of ebola virus disease (evd): a review. BMC Medicine, 12(196), 1.
Fine Maron, D. (2014, August 26). Ebola doctor reveals how infected americans were cured Scientific American, 1. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ebola-doctor-reveals-how-infected-americans-were-cured/
Gatherer, D. (2014). The 2014 ebola virus disease outbreak in west africa . Journal of General Virology, 1-13.
Gomes, M. F. C., Pastore y Piontti, A., & et. al., (2014). Assessing the international spreading risk associated with the 2014 west african ebola outbreak. PLOS: Current Outbreaks, (1), 1.
Ikhuoria, Edwin. (2014, October 14). Case study: How Nigeria contained the Ebola outbreak. One Magazine.1.Retrieved from http://www.one.org/us/2014/10/29/case-study-how-nigeria-contained-the-ebola-outbreak/
Osterholm, M. T., Moore, K. A., & Gostin, L. (2015). Public health in the age of ebola in west africa . JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(1), 7-8.
BBC News-Africa. (2015, March 20). Ebola: Mapping the outbreak. BBC News-Africa, 1. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28755033
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, March 20). 2014 ebola outbreak in west africa. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/
Web MD. (2014). a visual guide to ebola. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-visual-guide-to-ebola
Whitehouse.gov. (2015). Administrations response to ebola. Whitehoue.gov.1. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/ebola-response
World health Organization. (2014, September). Ebola virus disease. World Health Organization, 1. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/
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