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This week has been a difficult one in West Africa due to the struggles to contain the Ebola virus in some parts of Western Africa. The virus has claimed the lives of 59 people in Guinea and is also believed to have spread to the neighboring country of Liberia due to the crossing over of infected people from Guinea to seek medical treatment.
Ebola is one of the world’s most dreaded diseases. This disease is caused by a virus and like all other viruses, treating it is never easy. There are three subtypes of Ebola viruses namely Ebola- Zaire, Ebola- Sudan and Ebola- Ivory Coast. The symptoms of Ebola are normally very severe. They include, high fever, muscle pain, stomach aches, fatigue, rashes, red eyes, sore throat, bloody diarrhea, vomiting blood, blindness, excessive bleeding and it ultimately leads to death. The earliest case of Ebola was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the year 1976 and named Ebola- Zaire. What makes this viral infection extremely dangerous is that it is spread through the mixture or contact of body fluids. Since a person infected with the virus vomits, diarrheas and bleeds a lot, it is very easy for those in contact with him or her to get the disease. The threat of Ebola is mainly faced by African nations. This virus kills so many people and in such a short time, containing it is quite difficult.
This disease is threatening to turn into an epidemic in Liberia and in other West African countries. This especially since there is no treatment or vaccine. In Guinea the first victims reported to have contracted it are the medical staff. The Liberian Government has confirmed that six Guinea Nationals who crossed over into the country in search of treatment have died of the disease. This has led to lots of concerns and the Liberian government has reportedly dispatched medical personnel to towns and villages bordering Liberia and especially to the Lofa belt, where the six Guinea nationals believed to have died from Ebola entered Liberia. This is due to the threat that the virus is posing to the country as stated by the Minister of Health.
There are still no reported cases of Ebola among Liberian nationals but given the fast rate in which the disease spreads, warnings have been given by the government to its citizens and visitors to stay safe and on the lookout.
The Ebola virus becomes dangerous to human life when it causes haemorrhagic fever outbreak. This fever outbreak also known as EHF raises the likelihood of death in a person infected by the virus to about 90%. The most common types of Ebola that causes the haemorrhagic Fever are Ebola- Sudan and Ebola- Zaire. These are therefore considered to be the most dangerous strains of Ebola. The cause of alarm in Liberia is therefore justified since the strain of Ebola affecting the Guinea is Ebola- Zaire and if not contained many deaths are bound to occur not only in Liberia but in many other West African countries.
Author: Raphael Macharia
Sources: Rightdiagnosis/ Wn/ Foxnews/ Allafrica