The world and particularly the U.S. is waking up to the realities of the epidemic of Ebola, the deadly virus that is devastating West Africa. Recently, there have been several reported cases of Ebola victims in the United States and as it currently stands, there are reportedly a total of five. On October 8th, Thomas Duncan, who entered the U.S. with symptoms and later developed a full-blown case of the disease, died. On October 12th, one of the caregiver nurses for the now deceased Duncan tested positive for Ebola. There are currently four people being treated for Ebola in Nebraska.
The first person to be brought to the U.S. with Ebola was Kent Brantley, a physician who worked for Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. The second person, his co-worker Nancy Writebol, was also infected in Monrovia along with Brantley. A third person was a Boston physician, Rick Sacra, who was working for Serving in Mission as a missionary. The fourth person was an unidentified U. S. citizen working for the WHO in Sierra Leone. He was taken to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for intensive treatment.
The fifth and currently last case of a U.S. citizen diagnosed was Ashoka Mukpo, who is a freelance cameraman for NBC. The NBC worker and his crew were covering the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. Brantley has successfully recovered and Mukpo and Sacra are recovering from the disease after receiving a blood donation from Kent Brantley. With the passing of Thomas Duncan, these are currently the only five known cases of Ebola in the U.S. On October 8th, Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Monnig had shown signs of Ebola symptoms and is currently being monitored in Dallas. He is a first responder and was one of the workers in the apartment where Duncan lived.
The outbreak of Ebola started in West Africa and is devastating the area. There are over 4,000 people who have succumbed to Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the countries that were hardest hit. There are over 8,000 cases of people who have contracted the disease according to the World Health Organization. Some cases started to appear in Nigeria and Senegal and the outbreak has reached as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was reported by the CDC that infections could reach 1.4 million in four months. According to CDC’s Dr. Tom Friedan, the fight against Ebola won’t be quick. “We are deeply concerned about what’s happening today, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea to some extent. These are countries that are really struggling to deal with an unprecedented outbreak,” says Frieden.
President Obama believes that an outbreak in the U.S. is unlikely, but stresses the importance of education. “It is important for Americans to know the facts,” the president said. “Because of the measures that we’ve put in place, as well as our world class health system and the nature of the Ebola virus itself — which is difficult to transmit — the chance of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low.” There have been measures taken to prevent the spread of Ebola in the U.S.
Five airports will begin screening travelers coming in from Ebola infected countries. The CDC also enacted a number of other precautionary measures. The symptoms for Ebola include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained hemorrhaging. Symptoms may appear between 2 to 21 days after exposure, but the average span is 8 to 10 days. Ebola recovery depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune system. Patients who recover from the Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for 10 years.