The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest outbreak ever recorded in history. It has reached five countries so far which include Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. As of September 22, 5,864 people has been infected, killing 2,811.
The Ebola virus, also known as the Ebola hemorrhagic, is a rare and deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside of the body. The virus damages the immune system and organs, causing levels of blood clotting cells to drop. Common signs and symptoms of Ebola are fevers greater than 101.5 degrees fahrenheit, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting and unexplained hemorrhages or bruising. Symptoms may appear from 2-21 days but the average appearance of symptoms is from 8-10 days.
Ebola is rumored to spread through the air or water but this is not true. The disease is passed through direct contact of blood or body fluids. Also, Ebola can be transmitted through contaminated needles or other things with infected body fluids.
On September 30, the first Ebola case was confirmed in the United States. The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, flew from Liberia to the Washington Dulles airport, and took the connecting flight to Dallas, Texas. Duncan checked into the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and was sent home on September 26 after complaining about abdominal pain and a fever. He returned two days later in an ambulance where he was further tested. It was later revealed that Duncan was not isolated when he arrived from West Africa. The Liberian authorities are to press charges on the Ebola patient for lying on his exit documents about being in contact with other infected individuals.
A second Ebola patient is to be treated in Nebraska. Ashoka Mukpo was diagnosed on Thursday, October 2. He is believed to be an American freelance cameraman who worked for NBC and was in Liberia. Mukpo was transported on a specially-equipped plane Sunday, October 5 to Nebraska.
With all the recent news and decisions to bring Ebola patients back into the US, there have been many different viewpoints from American citizens about whether the decisions made have been the right ones. The main question being asked is if it is too dangerous to bring infected people into the US?
Many people are arguing that it is not in the United States best interest to bring Ebola into our country, and for obvious reasons. Glenn Beck, a popular television and radio host, stated his opinion on the matter. “I’m sure it is the least of our worries. But I’m just saying, do we need more logs on the fire?” he asked. He continues to argue his point that the US should be sending supplies instead of bringing the infected patients into our borders.
In reply to his argument, I think the United States should be the country to take initiative to stop Ebola from further spreading. First off, there is little risk in the disease spreading if everyone takes the proper precautions. Also, the United States has the best equipment and supplies to be able to properly treat them.
The United States is looked to for help whenever there is a crisis. There is a sense of responsibility for the US to take action to help shut Ebola down. Part of this responsibility is to take the slight risk that the disease might spread when bringing it inside our country, but to trust that the patients will be properly and safely transported. It comes down to the morals that the United States is run on; it is necessary to take the challenge instead of pushing the burden onto a smaller country that would struggle trying to contain the disease.
ZMapp, being developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., is an experimental treatment for individuals infected with the Ebola virus. It has not yet been tested in humans for safety or effectiveness. The product is a combination of three different antibodies that bind to the protein of the Ebola virus. Since the product is still in the experimental stage, it is too early to tell if ZMapp will be effective but it is the most promising treatment so far.
The outbreak can be controlled if everyone practices good sanitation, and the patients are properly quarantined. Ebola is a real threat that should be taken seriously. It needs to be stopped now before it reaches any other countries.