West Africa is reeling under the worst ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The death toll has already crossed the 850 mark this year since its detection in February and has infected over 1600 people. As the nations of Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone struggle to see light end of this dark tunnel, the WHO has been channeling all its efforts in helping out these nations. This is first time that EVD has cropped up in West Africa. It has always been more active in Central Africa and has never before claimed so many lives.
There are five types of Ebola virus and the current outbreak has been caused due to the Zaire Ebola virus which is the deadliest of all. It was present only in Central America, but experts believe that it arrived in Guinea, epicenter of this outbreak in March 2014, through migrating bats. Bats are the primary carriers of Ebola virus.
EVD gets transmitted via body fluids like blood, saliva, sweat and has a fatality rate of 70-90%. Relatives are getting infected while performing the burial rites of infected relatives. This has prompted the Liberian government to order dead bodies to be cremated instead of being buried. Many unclaimed bodies are being dumped on the roads, thereby posing extreme infection hazard.
The entire world is on red alert to prevent a similar outbreak. Airports all over the world are screening travelers who have visited these West African countries. Saudi Arabia has reported a patient suspected of having caught the virus and is treating him in isolation. It has banned pilgrims from any of the West African countries as a preventive measure. Meanwhile, the two infected US nationals have been brought back home and are undergoing treatment in Atlanta. They are reportedly showing signs of improvement. British Airways has cancelled all flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone as a precautionary measure.
Donations are pouring in from all across the world and volunteers from the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse and various other charitable organizations are working day and night to provide relief in the infected areas. Heart breaking reports of these doctors and volunteers themselves falling prey to the deadly virus are pouring in, but they are braving all odds and are united in the mission to prevent the outbreak from spreading to more areas.
Advice to all is to avoid a journey to these nations for the time being. Follow personal hygiene procedures and keep your surroundings too neat. Doctors are advised to use protective gears while checking possible patients to avoid risk of catching the infection. While not all flu like symptoms might be due to Ebola, do take precaution!!!