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The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now the deadliest ever

Posted by on Jul. 28, 2014 at 3:04 PM
  • 40 Replies

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now the deadliest ever


The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has now killed at least 660 people in West Africa.

More than 1,000 cases have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since symptoms were first detected in the region four months ago.

The death of a Liberian man hospitalized in Lagos with the virus is raising fears that the latest outbreak could spread into Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. One of Liberia's most prominent doctors has also died from the virus, and an American doctor and aid worker are now infected.

Doctors Without Borders said the way the virus has spread is unlike any previous Ebola outbreaks, raising alarm among health workers.

"Ebola is usually a localized, rural disease, but this outbreak has a broad geographic spread and is reaching cities too," wrote GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Tristan McConnell, who is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

More from GlobalPost: Why we should all be very afraid of the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in Guinea

First detected in 1976, the Ebola virus has killed an estimated 1,900 people in the years since. Here are the seven deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history, according to figures from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, 2014 (660 deaths)

(ZOOM DOSSO AFP/Getty Images)

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire), 1976 (280 deaths)

(CDC/Dr. Lyle Conrad)

 

3. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1995 (250 deaths)

(CHRISTOPHE SIMON AFP/Getty Images)

 

4. Uganda, 2000 (224 deaths)

(CARLOS PALMA AFP/Getty Images)

 

5. Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2007 (187 deaths)

(AFP/Getty Images)

 

6. Sudan, 1976 (151 deaths)

(CDC/Dr. Lyle Conrad)

 

7. Republic of Congo, 2003 (128 deaths)

(DESIREY MINKOH AFP/Getty Images)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/140401/7-deadliest-ebola-outbreaks-history-guinea

You make people leave CM. You drive them away. There is a meaness and coldness in you that pushes people away and makes them cancel their CM accounts. I know a few of them.

- Iga

by on Jul. 28, 2014 at 3:04 PM
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VooDooB
by Platinum Member on Jul. 29, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Ebola only a plane ride away from USA


The growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa serves as a grim reminder that deadly viruses are only a plane ride away from the USA, health experts say.

The outbreak is the largest and deadliest on record, with more than 670 deaths and more than 1,200 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatality rates for Ebola have been as high as 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

The virus — which has an incubation period of a few days to three weeks — could easily travel to the USA through infected travelers, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

A second American working in Africa has tested positive for the Ebola virus. The biggest-ever outbreak of the disease has already claimed more than 670 lives in West Africa. VPC

EBOLA OUTBREAK: What you need to know

VIRUS' SPREAD: Ebola may extend deadly reach beyond Africa

MORE: American doctor's Ebola prognosis 'grave'

"A case very well could fly out of Africa, only to be detected in some distant country," says Osterholm, who served as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration on bioterrorism.

The CDC on Monday announced that it has sent an alert to health care providers in the USA to help them spot symptoms of the disease.

Health experts at the CDC have been working with African nations since the Ebola outbreak began in March. But officials are on alert now, after news that a man with Ebola was able to board a plane and arrive in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. He later died.

Two Americans providing humanitarian assistance in West Africa have become infected with Ebola. Family members of one of them, Kent Brantly, a doctor, had been living with him in Africa, but returned to the USA before he began showing symptoms. To be careful, however, the family is on a "21-day fever watch," in which they are being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms, says Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the CDC's national center for emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases.

Yet while Ebola is a fearsome disease, the virus "would not pose a major public health risk" in the USA, Osterholm says.

That's because people need to be in intimate contact to spread the virus, Osterholm says.

Ebola is actually much harder to spread than respiratory infections, such as influenza or measles. Those viruses pose a much greater threat on a plane or in any confined space, says Osterholm, who notes that people cannot spread the Ebola virus simply by sneezing or coughing.

Ebola also can only be spread by people with active symptoms, Monroe says.

"No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low," says Monroe, who says that the CDC has sent 12 experts to Africa to help with the crisis. "While it's possible that someone could become infected with Ebola in Africa" before boarding a plane to the USA, "it's very unlikely that they would spread it to other passengers."

Ebola does spread readily through body fluids, such as blood and saliva, Osterholm says. On a plane, a sick person could potentially contaminate the bathroom if he or she vomits or has diarrhea.

Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, says the issue of how Ebola spreads is complex. Sweat and saliva carry much lower levels of the Ebola virus than blood and stool, so the virus spreads less readily through those fluids.

"I don't think we've seen actual cases (passed through contact with sweat or saliva)," Morse says. "There may someday be a strain that's more capable of doing that, but so far it's more theoretical than actual."

Ebola has spread in Africa partly because of religious customs, in which family members wash the bodies of deceased relatives to prepare them for burial.

The virus also has spread to health care workers in Africa, where six or seven patients may share a single hospital room. Hospitals in developing countries also may lack certain infection-control measures — such as special containers to dispose of syringes — that are standard in U.S. facilities, Osterholm says. Wearing full-body protective garments – commonly called "moon suits" – is also more of a challenge in open-air clinics, because the restrictive outfits can cause people to quickly overheat.

More help is needed from around the world, Morse said. He received an e-mail today from a friend who is treating patients in the region and working 12- to 24-hour days. "When people tell me they're working flat-out 20 hours a day, obviously more resources are needed," he said.

The region needs more health care workers, especially those well trained in infection control procedures, he said, more equipment to keep health care workers and family members safe while treating patients, and more training for the general public about how to avoid and cope with the virus. "With something this size, it's obvious that we're under resourced right now," Morse said.

Symptoms of Ebola include fever, muscle aches, chills, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea and a rash, according to the WHO. Advanced cases also can cause heavy bleeding, both internally and from the mouth and nose. Ebola can damage multiple organs, causing kidney and liver failure.

Only about half of patients begin hemorrhaging, Monroe says. That makes it easy for health care workers in Africa to mistake Ebola for diseases with similar symptoms, such as malaria and Lassa fever, another viral illness common in that region.

"Most people who contract Ebola are those who live with and care for those who have already caught the disease and are showing symptoms," Monroe says.

Hospitals in the USA are on high alert for Ebola, however, and would quickly isolate anyone with suspicious symptoms who has recently returned from Africa, Osterholm says.

"Right now, we'd have to assume every case is an Ebola case," in people with suspicious symptoms, Osterholm says.

In a worst-case scenario, Osterholm says, a handful of emergency room workers could be exposed before a sick person is diagnosed.

Once people are infected, however, there is no effective treatment, Osterholm says. Anti-viral medications used for other illnesses, such as the flu and HIV, don't appear to work on Ebola. Instead, hospitals could provide supportive care, dealing with symptoms as they occur.

Among the federal travel restriction procedures the Centers for Disease Control can use to protect travelers and the public from communicable diseases that pose a serious threat is to put travelers' names on a "Do Not Board" list that is enforced by the Transportation Security Administration.

However, it's unclear how well the list works. CDC still has not released records requested by USA TODAY in 2010 under the Freedom of Information Act relating to failures of the "Do Not Board" list to stop passengers from flying. As of April, CDC had transferred the gathered records for further review by officials at CDC's parent agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to e-mail correspondence.



AnotherKim
by on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:28 PM
2 moms liked this

It's sad and a horrific way to die. "The Hot Zone" was pretty explicit in it's discription of how the disease ravages the body. That said. I'm not as worried about Ebola, here in the States, as I am HIV/AIDS. Far more people have died from AIDS world wide, than have died from Ebola.

AnotherKim
by on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:34 PM

I read last night that Liberia has closed it's boarders in hopes of containing the virus.

VooDooB
by Platinum Member on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:36 PM
3 moms liked this

You can't catch HIV/AIDS from sneezing near someone. Airborne diseases are much scarier.

Quoting AnotherKim:

It's sad and a horrific way to die. "The Hot Zone" was pretty explicit in it's discription of how the disease ravages the body. That said. I'm not as worried about Ebola, here in the States, as I am HIV/AIDS. Far more people have died from AIDS world wide, than have died from Ebola.


You make people leave CM. You drive them away. There is a meaness and coldness in you that pushes people away and makes them cancel their CM accounts. I know a few of them.

- Iga

survivorinohio
by René on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:42 PM


Quoting AnotherKim:

It's sad and a horrific way to die. "The Hot Zone" was pretty explicit in it's discription of how the disease ravages the body. That said. I'm not as worried about Ebola, here in the States, as I am HIV/AIDS. Far more people have died from AIDS world wide, than have died from Ebola.

Ebola is much much much scarier than AIDS/HIV.

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


AnotherKim
by on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:44 PM
2 moms liked this

 Ebola is not airborne. It's a blood-borne pathogen just like HIV.

Quoting VooDooB:

You can't catch HIV/AIDS from sneezing near someone. Airborne diseases are much scarier.

Quoting AnotherKim:

It's sad and a horrific way to die. "The Hot Zone" was pretty explicit in it's discription of how the disease ravages the body. That said. I'm not as worried about Ebola, here in the States, as I am HIV/AIDS. Far more people have died from AIDS world wide, than have died from Ebola.


AnotherKim
by on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Nope they are both viruses, spread by blood, that ravage the body. People are far to nonchalant about HIV. They may have medications to help you live longer, but they do not have a cure.

Quoting survivorinohio:

Quoting AnotherKim:

It's sad and a horrific way to die. "The Hot Zone" was pretty explicit in it's discription of how the disease ravages the body. That said. I'm not as worried about Ebola, here in the States, as I am HIV/AIDS. Far more people have died from AIDS world wide, than have died from Ebola.

Ebola is much much much scarier than AIDS/HIV.


cats911
by Member on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:48 PM

It is extremely scarry.  And they say they contact it by eating bush meat.  QUIT EATING MONKEYS!!!!!!!!!  It affects the whole human race!

survivorinohio
by René on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:54 PM
3 moms liked this

Ebola ia a hemorrhagic fever that spreads by coughing/sneezing and is a fast gruesome awful death with no cure or effective treatment protocol.  If this Outbreak jumps the Ocean it will kill like Captain Tripps.

I am a married monogamous mom with about zero fear of ever contracting HIV. 

Quoting AnotherKim:

Nope they are both viruses, spread by blood, that ravage the body. People are far to nonchalant about HIV. They may have medications to help you live longer, but they do not have a cure.

Quoting survivorinohio:

Quoting AnotherKim:

It's sad and a horrific way to die. "The Hot Zone" was pretty explicit in it's discription of how the disease ravages the body. That said. I'm not as worried about Ebola, here in the States, as I am HIV/AIDS. Far more people have died from AIDS world wide, than have died from Ebola.

Ebola is much much much scarier than AIDS/HIV.



How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


VooDooB
by Platinum Member on Jul. 29, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Wrong.

You can get Ebola by sneezing on someone. You cannot with HIV.
Ebola kills you painfully in days. HIV does not. 

Quoting AnotherKim:

 Ebola is not airborne. It's a blood-borne pathogen just like HIV.

Quoting VooDooB:

You can't catch HIV/AIDS from sneezing near someone. Airborne diseases are much scarier.

Quoting AnotherKim:

It's sad and a horrific way to die. "The Hot Zone" was pretty explicit in it's discription of how the disease ravages the body. That said. I'm not as worried about Ebola, here in the States, as I am HIV/AIDS. Far more people have died from AIDS world wide, than have died from Ebola.



You make people leave CM. You drive them away. There is a meaness and coldness in you that pushes people away and makes them cancel their CM accounts. I know a few of them.

- Iga

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