Disease from Africa reaches U.S.


It seems like a scenario from “Plague, Inc.” — a virus spreading rapidly across the world, already killing thousands in one continent alone. But it’s not a game. It’s actually happening.
The culprit is ebola hemorrhagic fever, or ebola.
Ebola is a deadly virus that was discovered in 1976, after two simultaneous outbreaks in Sudan and the Republic of Congo. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus, transmitted by wild animals and human-to-human contact, has a 90 percent case fatality rate.
The current outbreak, which started in West Africa, is the worst outbreak in history, according to experts. It has killed more people than any of the other ebola outbreaks put together, over 2,100 in Africa alone.
Symptoms of ebola start showing after two to 21 days of exposure, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and include extreme fever, greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, muscle and abdominal pain and, in severe cases, both internal and external bleeding.
One positive to the current flare-up is that this outbreak has a higher survival rate than past flare-ups; the rate of survival is 47 percent. Two Americans who had been infected with ebola after they contracted the disease doing missionary work in Africa were recently cured of the disease by an experimental drug called ZMapp which hadn’t previously been tested on humans, but had a 100 percent cure rate in monkeys. However, according to Mapp Bio Pharmaceuticals, the company that created ZMapp, the supply of ZMapp that was available has been depleted completely, as they “complied with every request for ZMapp that had the necessary legal authorization.”
Naturally, with the spread of a disease, people wonder whether or not the disease could affect them. That’s a fear that many Americans have, as well, wondering whether the virus can spread and break here.
“The potential is there,” Laurence Burnsed, M.P.H. (Master of Public Health) at the Oklahoma Department of Health said. He stated that many people who may be in the area of West Africa may be exposed to the virus, and they could come back to the United States after being exposed to ebola and develop the symptoms.
Hopefully, with all of the help that is there trying to contain the virus, it won’t spread and the virus will eventually whittle away.