The growing panic among the US citizens over the Ebola virus has become the recent buzz in the country. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, Atlanta) has estimated that by August 2014, approximately 68 Ebola scares were handled by US healthcare facilities and state labs. The numbers have doubled and tripled in the months of September and October. The latest news is that the deadly virus could reach Britain and France by the end of this month (October). The approximate number of people infected so far by this rapidly spreading virus is 7,200. Let us take a look at when and where it all started and how scientists and healthcare workers are struggling to contain a full-fledged outbreak:
Inception and Facts:
• The much-feared Ebola hemorrhagic fever originated from the region of Zaire in Central Africa.
• Named after the River Ebola, from where the disease was said to have been discovered, the first Ebola human infection was reported in 1976.
• Scientists claim that there are five different Ebola virus types out of which four can cause severe human illnesses, while the fifth virus known as the Reston affects only primates.
• When debated whether the disease is contagious or infectious, scientists describe the Ebola virus to be highly infectious and less contagious. It means that even a single Ebola virus has the ability to trigger a fatal infection and it is not an airborne disease like measles.
• Ebola is transmitted to a healthy person when he/she comes in contact with body fluids of infected persons and contaminated objects used by them.
• Symptoms vary from fever, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver functions, along with internal and external bleeding in some cases.
• The most disturbing fact is that no cure has been found so far.
Ebola Scare in the US:
There was not even a single Ebola case reported in the US until August 2014. It was on Sept 30 that CDC announced that a Liberian named Thomas Eric Duncan visiting Texas was diagnosed with the Ebola virus. While Duncan died on October 8, the news spread ‘virally’ through the nation panicking the citizens. Adding to the panic was the news of the nurse who cared for Duncan also testing positive for Ebola on October 11. On October 15, another nurse who cared for Duncan, Amber Vinson was also diagnosed with the Ebola virus. Though there were so many speculations, the two nurses were declared free of the deadly virus on October 24. While that is good news, the fear of the deadly virus is still lingering in every part of the US.
Steps taken by the US:
To contain a full-fledged Ebola breakout, the nation is taking several precautionary measures,
• A thorough airport screening is performed on all travelers traveling from West Africa.
• Individuals who might have come in direct contact with infected persons will be isolated in quarantine for 21 days.
The Ebola scare has widely disturbed the normal working conditions of the US healthcare industry.