Ebola is a quickly-spreading deadly virus that represents a major threat to all of us. It is reportedly fatal in 90% of cases.
Symptoms like fever, diarrhea, muscle pain and bleeding usually begin to appear 21 days from contacting the virus. The disease tends to spread mainly in tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. The first documented Ebola outbreak took place in 1976, in Sudan.
How does the Ebola virus spread?
The virus can be spread through body fluids contact with infected patients and contaminated objects. Health care workers are exposing themselves to major risks. Even burial practices that require direct contact with the infected corpse can spread Ebola.
New Ebola Outbreak In Congo
The most recent outbreak was declared in August 2018, in eastern Congo. By now, over 1,000 deaths have been confirmed. Ever since then, the disease took thousands of lives, almost the most deadly outbreak, after the one in West Africa in 2014-2016 that killed over 11,000 people. The biggest challenge in containing the disease is the attack on health workers, that wounded or killed over 85 since January.
We don’t have a universally accepted treatment for Ebola yet, although it has been proven that rehydrating the patients can enhance their chance at surviving. Even more, over 110,000 Congo citizens have been vaccinated with an experimental vaccine. However, part of them refused it.
Challenges In Overcoming The Outbreak
The latest outbreak in Congo occurred in a war zone. Treating patients while constantly being exposed to outside threats such as attacks led by rebel groups is disruptive. Hospitals are doing everything they can to treat their patients with the limited resources they have.
Another damaging factor is people’s distrust in the government. Some are wary of the way Ebola suddenly appeared in their area. Before the Ebola outbreak, the only lethal disease they had to deal with was malaria. A portion of the population believes Ebola is a hoax.
When Will The Ebola Outbreak End?
Experts believe the outbreak might end during the next six months. If complications keep emerging, the outbreak will last longer. It is not a global threat yet, but if it persists, the Ebola outbreak in Congo could spread to other parts of the world.
Stacy Richardson is a seasoned journalist with 15 years experience.. She has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Stacy covers stories affecting local politics and economy. Contact Stacy here.