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Ebola V.S. The World - The 2014 Ebola Outbreak
By now I'm sure you've heard of the most recent Ebola Outbreak; originating in West Africa spreading from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to the US and Europe.
What Is Ebola?
Ebola is a extremely deadly virus of West African origin that can cause devastating symptoms and in the worst cases, death.
Symptoms of the Ebola Virus
The most prominent symptoms of Ebola are high fevers and massive internal bleeding.
The symptoms of Ebola include:
- Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
- Severe headaches
- Muscle pains
- Weakness / Fatigue
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Unexplained haemorrhages (bleeding or bruising)
Symptoms can appear from anywhere between 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is about 8 to 10 days.
The Fight Begins
Epidemic cases of the Ebola virus have occurred mainly in African countries, including:
- Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo)
- The Ivory Coast
Who is at risk?
The Ebola virus is mainly a hazard to the laboratory workers who work around the virus and ultimately anyone who is / has been exposed to it.
Much to most peoples surprise the Ebola virus is not exactly new; the virus was actually first introduced in 1977 as a possible new "strain" of Marburg virus" by two research teams, with a third team introducing the name "Ebola virus".
The name and aberrations for the virus have been recycled a few times over the years and has been referred to as the following:
- Ebola Virus - 1977
- Zaire Ebola Virus - 2000
- Zaire Ebolavirus - 2002
- Ebola Virus (reinstated name) - 2010
- EBOV-Z (for Ebola virus Zaire)
- ZEBOV (for Zaire Ebola Virus or Zaire Ebolavirus)
- EBOV (for Ebola Virus)
It's Time To Fight Back!
So what can we do to fight back against the latest Ebola outbreak?
A: We can help diagnose and start the process to treat Ebola along with supporting the charities who are helping to fund medical advancements towards curing the virus and getting the support to those who need it.
Being able to actually diagnose Ebola can be difficult because the early symptoms, such as rashes and red eyes are quite common.
Ebola infections themselves can only really be diagnosed properly under laboratory conditions by trained professionals, however if you suspect that a friend, loved one, collogue or even you yourself have been or are at risk of getting Ebola and are showing the potential symptoms of the virus, then please contact the correct authorities in your area immediately.
Unfortunately, currently there is no specific treatment or vaccine for Ebola.
Standard treatment of Ebola is currently limited to supportive therapy; this entails maintaining the patients oxygen and blood pressure levels whilst constantly ensuring they are correctly hydrated and treating any potentially complicating infections.
Those who display symptoms of the Ebola virus are currently being placed into isolation as a precaution to avoid the spread of the virus further and so that public health professionals can help the infected individual.
As of the 18th of October 2014, the statistics for the 2014 Ebola outbreak(s) are as follows:
West Africa Outbreak
Guinea - 1472 cases, 843 deaths
Liberia - 4249 cases, 2458 deaths
Nigeria - 20 cases, 8 deaths
Senegal - 1 case, 0 Deaths
Sierra Leone - 3252 cases, 1183 deaths
Spain - 1 case, 0 Deaths
United States - 2 cases, 1 death
Total Cases = 18,996
Total Deaths = 6,562
Dr Congo Outbreak
68 cases, 49 deaths
Totals including Dr Congo outbreak:
Total Cases = 19,064
Total Deaths = 6,611
These statistics show that there are almost 3 times as many cases as there have been deaths, so far.
(Please note all listed statistics are only current to 18/10/2014, sourced from http://healthmap.org/)
Funding The Fight
Governments all over the world have begun funding into finding a cure for Ebola, but they can't do it alone; that's where we come in.
Charities raising funding for Ebola Research
Charities have started funding the fight against the Ebola Virus, enabling more research into finding a cure.
The main charities making a stand against Ebola are:
- American Red Cross
- Doctors Without Borders
- Direct Relief
- Global Giving
- MAP International
- Samaritan's Purse
Donations made to any of these charities will be put towards research and support against the Ebola Outbreak
So What's Next?
Governments and Charities with our help will continue to fund research to find a cure for Ebola.
What Does That Mean For Us?
It means we need to continue to help the charities raising awareness and funds to fight Ebola, giving what we can and aiding our local authorities to identify potential threats and diagnose cases of Ebola.
How Much Money Do We Need?
On the 16th of September, the UN (United Nations) Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) officially stated that they would need £617 Million ($988 Million) to tackle the disease until February 2015.
So far £240 Million ($378 Million) has been received, which is about 38% of the total amount "required" and a further £135 Million ($217 Million) has been pledged, all together being potentially half the "required" funds.
With governments already funneling money into research leaves the rest up to us; our donations to charities like Doctors Without Borders and Direct Relief will be what makes it possible to beat Ebola as soon as humanly possible.
The fight is no longer a fight to be fought by the West Africans alone, the fight against the Ebola Virus is now a fight to be fought as a world united; it's Ebola V.S. The World and it's a fight we can win, a fight we will win if we all work together.
© 2014 Lee Skittrall