Aug 11 2014

Putting the Ebola Outbreak Into Perspective

Feature Stories | Published 11 Aug 2014, 10:11 am | Comments Off on Putting the Ebola Outbreak Into Perspective -

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The World Health Organization has declared the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa as a major emergency. So far in what is being characterized as the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history, more than 1,700 people have been infected, and nearly a thousand have died from the disease that has no vaccination, and no definitive tried and tested cure.

The group Doctors Without Borders has called Ebola “one of the world’s deadliest diseases.” What makes it terrifying is the 90% death rate of those who contract the disease and the fact that symptoms, which can take up to 3 weeks to appear, are easily confused with those of the flu.

The outbreak has impacted Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone the hardest, with a handful of known cases in Nigeria. While it is not contagious through airborne means, the virus can spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person. Doctors and nurses on the frontlines of treating Ebola patients have been among the most impacted. Earlier outbreaks were contained through strict quarantine.

A experimental drug called ZMapp that has not yet been adequately tested on humans, was made available on an emergency basis to two white American workers in Liberia who contracted the disease, setting off a debate over who gets access to drugs.

GUEST: John Ashton, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, Infectious Disease Specialist, Director of the Secretariat of the Diaspora Liberian Emergency Response Task Force on the Ebola Crisis

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