Ebola Outbreak

ebolaThe arrival of the fourth Ebola patient to the US has spurred me to do some research on this outbreak.

Wikipedia defines the Ebola virus as, “a disease of humans and other primates caused by an ebolavirus.  Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches…The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal.”

According to the BBC there have been 2,296 casualties of Ebola up to September 6th.  1,224 have been from Liberia, 555 from Guinea, 509 from Sierra Leone and 8 from Nigeria. BBC reports that there has been a spike of casualties in Liberia:

“Three countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – are at the heart of the Ebola outbreak, but Liberia is suffering the most by far. Why this is the case is not completely understood. Finding the answer will be a critical part of tackling the outbreak.”

The same article reports that the origin of the outbreak was Gueckedou, Guinea.  Guinea has not yet closed their boarders.  On the other hand, Sierra Leone and Liberia have closed their boarders.

Dr. Kent Brantly is an American who has survived Ebola.  According to NBC News he has donated his blood to the third American who has been diagnosed with Ebola.  They report:

“Using serum from the survivor of a disease is not a new approach, but it’s considered highly experimental. Last week the World Health Organization endorsed the approach, saying it was worth trying. The idea is that survivors have antibodies to the virus in their blood, and those antibodies can kick-start the immune system of another patient.

Graham thinks it helped. “Dr. Brantly said that when he saw him last week he was in pretty bad shape,” Graham said. “It sounds like he has made a dramatic turn.” Sacra was reported up and joking as he underwent treatment at Nebraska’s special biocontainment unit.”

The news of this successful procedure is providing hope for people that are affected with the virus.

CNN is reporting that a human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has begun:

“The experimental vaccine, developed by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and the NIAID, will first be given to three healthy human volunteers to see if they suffer any adverse effects. If deemed safe, it will then be given to another small group of volunteers, aged 18 to 50, to see if it produces a strong immune response to the virus. All will be monitored closely for side effects.

The vaccine will be administered to volunteers by an injection in the deltoid muscle of their arm, first in a lower dose, then later in a higher dose after the safety of the vaccine has been determined.

Some of the pre-clinical studies that are normally done on these types of vaccines were waived by the FDA during the expedited review, Fauci said, so “we want to take extra special care that we go slowly with the dosing.””

To summarize, Ebola is a disease that is spread by bodily fluids, it currently is hitting Liberia the hardest and there are different experiments being done to try and find immunizations to save those that are effected by the disease.

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