by Jacob De Paz
Since March of this year, the deadly Ebola virus has plagued West Africa and its inhabitants. Taking nearly 2,000 lives within a five-month period, the disease shows no signs of surrendering and only seems to be spreading across the globe.
Ebola, or Ebolavirus, is a toxic virus carried over to humans by our primate friends in Africa. Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Typically, vomiting, diarrhea and rash follow, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally. Without immediate treatment, the end result is death.
The first sightings of the soon-to-be epidemic were recorded in Guinea, late March with a death toll of 59. Over the following months, the strain has taken countless lives across the nearby nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and most recently Senegal.
Possibly more frightening, several cases of the virus have been recorded in Sacramento, California. The few victims were soon discharged from treatment with negative results, but the precedent for American carriers has been set.
The U.S. isn’t the only western nation to take worry, however. A British pharmaceutical company has taken note of the disease and is experimenting with a vaccine to potentially cure victims. 140 patients are to be tested in a drug experiment in the hopes that millions can be saved.
But in light of our seemingly well-off California victims, do we really need a vaccine to nurse the Ebola-infected? Allegedly, simple “Oral Rehydration Therapy” is enough to ward off the disease. For all we know, all that’s needed to help is a cool, clean glass of water; this certainly speaks to why the strain has spread so easily and rapidly in Africa, but need the rest of the world lay in such a panic?
Whatever the case may be, the CDC estimates that a total of 20,000 people will be infected worldwide by Ebolavirus within the coming months. Whether or not those numbers will turn into deaths remains to be seen, but the virus doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon.
(Image courtesy of www.macleans.ca)