An Ebola outbreak in Guinea has led to the deaths of 59 people and is continuing to spread throughout Africa. The outbreak is so bad that Doctors Without Border has already flown in doctors and medial supplies to help treat the sick and contain the virus. Quarentine areas have been created where those infected with the virus can be treated without the risk of infecting others and spreading the dangerous and deadly disease.
Ebola is a form of hemoragic fever. Symptoms of the virus appear flu-like at first, but quickly worsen to include severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Headache, sore throat and rashes are also common. If left untreated, those infected with an Ebola virus can fall into a coma and die.
One of the most notable and horrific symptoms of the disease is the bleeding from mucuous membranes. Bleeding occurs in about 50% of Ebola cases and is one of the ways that the virus is spread from person to person. Prognosis is poor but survival is possible. Patients who do survive can either recover quickly or face many complications along the path to recovery.
There have been many attempts to create vaccinations for Ebola, but none of them have been approved. Scientists are continuing to work on possible vaccines and one may be approved in the near future. Until then, Ebola is treated by preventing dehydration, managing pain and administering anticoagulants to prevent severe bleeding.
In Guinea, 59 of the 80 people infected during the outbreak have died, three of which were young children. The arrival of supplies and doctors may mean a higher survival rate for those infected. The ability to quarentine the infected patients will have the greatest effect as it will help control the outbreak and prevent the virus from spreading.
“These structures are essential to prevent the spread of the disease, which is highly contagious,” explained Dr. Esther Sterkof of Doctors Without Borders, adding, “Specialized staff are providing care to patients showing signs of infection.”
Currently, the outbreak is only occuring in the forest area of southern Guinea. Health officials are providing free treatment for the infected and are urging people within the area to stay calm, wash their hands often and report any symptoms to health officials or the authorities.
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