What is Ebola?

Map+and+chart+showing+cases+of+Ebola+updated+as+of+September+15%2C+2014

Courtesy MCT Campus Service

Map and chart showing cases of Ebola updated as of September 15, 2014

We’ve all heard of the ever approaching, fear inducing disease, Ebola. Now why is everyone so afraid of a disease that isn’t even new? The answer to this is that it evolved, grew, and let’s be honest, it’s pretty scary to see. Previous versions of Ebola were curable but at the moment, all scientists can manage is a treatment. The biggest problem with curing this horrid disease that makes you basically look and feel like you’ve been possessed by a demon with your very pores bleeding and your face white with fever, is that the places the outbreak has occurred don’t have the proper facilities or equipment to give aid.

On one occasion, a medical facility that was set up in a small African village was attacked by the villagers because they felt like the doctors were going to make things worse. This kind of activity make it extremely difficult to give aid where it is required.

Those who have fallen ill have begun to jump to drastic measures since it is so difficult for them to have medical attention. Many have been buying the blood of survivors of the virus on the black market as the World Health Organization has warned. Rumor has it that the blood can be used as a treatment and possibly even a cure. Scientists have not shut out this theory completely because it has yet to be tested, so the legitimacy of this rumor is yet to be known. As the World Health Organization says, “Studies suggest blood transfusions from survivors might prevent or treat Ebola virus infection in others, but the results of the studies are still difficult to interpret. It is not known whether antibodies in the plasma of survivors are sufficient to treat or prevent the disease. More research is needed.”

Convalescent serum has been used to treat patients and has worked when done properly. The problem is that not many are getting the blood from the right place and as a result can lead to many other infections such as HIV and other blood-related ailments.

Margaret Chan, director-general or the WHO said, “We need to work very closely with the affected countries to stem out black market trading of convalescent serum for two reasons. Because it is in the interest of individuals not to just get convalescent serum without … going through the proper standard and the proper testing because it is important that there may be other infectious vectors that we need to look at.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that the U.S. will be sending troops, materials to build field hospitals. additional healthcare workers and community care kits to aid the infected nations. The U.S. will also be creating a facility to train healthcare workers how to not only identify Ebola, but care for the patients it affects.

Though many are trying to do everything in their power to stop this, as Obama said, “Men and women and children are just sitting, waiting to die right now.”