Ebola Death Toll Still Rising In Africa

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The Ebola outbreak that started in Guinea has spread to neighboring villages and claimed at least 142 lives. The outbreak started in March and began spreading across West Africa. Healthcare workers tried to contain the virus to prevent it from spreading but were not successful. They quarantined patients and advised anyone experiencing symptoms to be checked for the virus.

By late March, the virus had spread to nearby Liberia. Guinea’s health authorities have reported a total of 208 clinical cases, including 136 deaths. The disease is still spreading through Liberia, but Liberia's health authorities have already reported 34 clinical cases and at least six deaths.

The symptoms of Ebola include headache, fever, nausea, chills diarrhea and eventually, internal bleeding and bleeding from the mucous membranes. There is no known cure for the virus and very few treatment options. New treatment options are currently being created and tested in labs across the world, but no vaccine has yet been created and there are no medications available to kill the virus.

Treatment consists of keeping the patients comfortable and helping to relieve severe symptoms. Healthcare workers try to prevent dehydration by offering clean drinking water to the infected and using IVs to deliver liquid to the body. Pain killers are also offered to patients who complain of headaches, abdominal pain and other aches and pains.

Healthcare workers in both Guinea and Liberia are focused on quarantining the infected so they can stop the disease from spreading but the World Healthcare Organization fears that the disease may have already started to spread to other locations. They have also said that this Ebola outbreak is the worst they have seen in seven years and they fear it will not be over anytime soon.

"Since the incubation period for Ebola can be as long as three weeks, it is likely that the Guinean health authorities will report new cases in the coming weeks and additional suspected cases may also be identified in neighboring countries,” WHO said. “It is anticipated that most of the suspected cases currently reported by Liberia will be reclassified as discarded and removed from the case count.”

WHO recommends not traveling to Guinea, Liberia or other nearby parts of West Africa until the outbreak is over. The virus is easily spread and if picked up by a tourist, it could be spread on an airplane or bus and new outbreaks could occur all over the world.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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