The Ebola virus which has spread in five countries continues to migrate through towns and into West African cities. According to reports done by the World Health Organization, in West Africa alone Ebola has killed over 1,552 people. The deaths range from Liberia, to Nigeria, to Sierra Leone, and all the way to Guinea. The latter, has plagued close to 650 people, and taken the lives of 430 others. Even though government officials and on-site doctors have spent several months trying to contain the malicious outbreak, those infected continue to increase. Reports show that over 40 percent of Ebola cases have been in the last 23 days.
In Sierra Leone, the dreaded “hemorrhagic fever” arrived in Ola During Hospital in Freetown. Its carrier was a 4-year-old boy. The diagnosis of the child became apparent only a few days after he was checked in. The hospital, which is Freetown’s sole pediatric center, was forced to shut down. The boy did not survive. Around 30 nurses and doctors and those who had been in close perimeters with the boy, were admitted into quarantine, and left with only concern as they had to wait 21 days to show any signs of contamination. The remaining doctor’s and staff members were so afraid of being infected, they did not return to work the following day. What is being called the worst outbreak of Ebola on record, is unrelenting. Five co-authors from West Africa who were studying the mutation of Ebola in 2014, and planned to publish their research, were killed by the disease even before they had a chance to.
The Ebola virus is now spreading across cities in Africa into small provinces, and into cities like Freetown and its population of 1.2 million people. The World Health Organization recently warned of a number of 20,000 more cases could potentially strike West Africa. “This country has never experienced this type of Ebola outbreak before,” said David Nabarro, who is a coordinator of the new U.N. Ebola effort. He continues, “When the virus is dispersed throughout the cities, it can take on a totally different dimension.”
Once an infection happens in humans, Ebola can spread in various ways to other people. It typically spreads from direct contact with someone who is infected, or through their bodily fluids. Symptoms can include joint and muscle pain, high fever, migraine headaches, weakness of the body, stomach pains, decrease of appetite, and vomiting. The symptoms can first appear from two days, to three weeks after exposure. However, somewhere around an 8-10 day time frame is said to be more common. Survival chances of the virus are 50 percent.
The first case of the Ebola virus spreading into Africa was in a city of Sierra Leone, which happened at the end of May. Nearly one month later the region had close to 159 cases. Toward the end of July, that number rose to 533. A state of emergency in the nation was declared. Banks cut their hours to decrease the number of crowds, major public gatherings were outlawed, and popular social clubs along the coast of the country’s Atlantic Ocean, were empty. Most of the residents who could afford to leave the capital of Freetown are now gone, some temporarily, fleeing to foreign land in hopes that the virus will soon be gone.
By Theodore Borders
Photo Courtesy of Leasmhar