CAN EBOLA BE PREVENTED TO BECOME A MAJOR CATASTROPHE?
Today everyone is worried about EBOLA Virus Disease. All the World
Governments are talking about this virus and how to contain it, before
becoming a big EPIDEMIC. Yes it is worrisome and if it is not controlled
soon then there is a possibility that millions of people can be affected by
this virus.It is time for us to understand about this disease and go into
details what is happening to contain this virus.
I would like to explain what this virus is and how it started ?
EBOLA Virus Disease (EVD), formerly known as EBOLA Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF)
or simply EBOLA is a disease of humans and other mammals caused by EBOLA
VIRUS. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks
after contracting the virus with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and
Virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spread in the human
population through human to human transmission.
The average EVD case fatality rate used to be 50 percent but has increased
recently to 70 percent.(According to United Nations Health Organization)
The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa near
tropical rainforests, In 1976 it was revealed that 2 simultaneous outbreaks
have occurred , one in Nazra, Sudan and the other in Yambuka, Democratic
Republic of Congo. The later occurred in a village near the Ebola River and
hence the disease takes its name from there. Recent March 2014 it
re-occurred in Guinea and the spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone
and Liberia . it was spread by Air to Nigeria and by land to Senegal.
Due to poor health system, government inefficiency and broken bureaucracy,
it could not be contained and around 5000 people have died. If it is not
contained then according to CDC it could reach a very high figure by
January 2015.The local leadership failed to understand the gravity of
EBOLA. It was not before when Robert Garry , a Tulane University virologist
who was working in a hospital in Sierra Leone. and researching on EBOLA
came to US in May to warn the officials about the seriousness of this
epidemic. Garry raised his concerns with the U.S, State Department and the
Department of Health and Human Services.” The response was cordial, but
nothing happened” he says.” I was trying to show that we were at a tipping
point and that this had the potential to spiral out of control.”
Another problem was that no one took it seriously as it was far away in
rural areas. When it reached Monrovia, all of a sudden the Ministers,
Officials realized that they could catch it.We have seen in the past
whenever there is a problem the whole world looks towards U.S. and only
then other countries shake their Government Machinery.We have been seeing
the working of President Obama that he takes very long time to make a
decision even on very important world issues. All the experts were crying
from May on wards that EBOLA has become a very serious problem and the
Western Countries did not realize and were hesitant in responding to the
needs to control this epidemic right itself in Africa.
It wasn’t until August,after one American aid worker and an American doctor
working in Liberia had contracted the virus, that the CDC sent its first
“surge”of epidemic specialists to the region and WHO declared EBOLA a
Global Public Health emergency.” It took 1,000 deaths and five months
before this was declared a public health emergency,” says Peter Piot,
director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines and a
member of the team of researchers who discovered EBOLA in 1976.” It is
always better to overreact than under-react in epidemics. Because of this
delayed response it’s much harder now.”
Here I would like to compare the fatality rates of major infectious
1. West African EBOLA (was 45-47 %) but has increased to 60-70 % according
to the latest report World Health Organization.
2. Tuberculosis, which is more prevalent in poor countries, 15 %
3. Polio, again it is a phenomena in poor countries, 10 %
There are other serious diseases like Sars, Whooping Cough, Measles, Swine
Flu etc.( Note: I have not mentioned AIDS which takes away more than
one million lives every year, as next I am going to discuss which is more
dangerous out of these two )
AIDS or EBOLA, which is more dangerous ?
EBOLA is not expected to ever be in the same league as AIDS in terms of
infections and deaths, said Dr. Anthony Fauei, Director of the National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. No ten of millions affected
by EBOLA said Fauci, a long time leader in the fight against AIDS.This year
EBOLA killed thousands in West Africa but AIDS kills more than one million
a year. EBOLA can become more infectious than HIV according to Dr. Bruce
Ribner, a physician involving in the care of four EBOLA patients treated so
far at EMORY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL in Atlanta.EBOLA Patient can have 10
billion viral particles in a fifth of a teaspoon of blood far more than
50,000 to 1,00,000 particles seen in an untreated patient with AIDS virus.
Even the skin of EBOLA patient can be crawling with the virus – according
Rapid increase in Liberia and Sierra Leone led to the CDC’S worst case
scenario to 1.4 million by January 2015.
AIDS was known to Doctors only in 1981 and it was more mysterious illness
with no known cause.” we did not know it was a virus, we had no idea what
was going on” recalled David Calentano, who was a young AIDS researcher in
the 1980’s and now at John Hopkins University’s School of Public
Health.Scientists could not isolate AIDS virus till 1985.
Vaccine and medications have allowed those infected with AIDS to live
longer and healthier lives.
When Western Countries Took EBOLA Seriously ?
EBOLA was taken seriously by U.S. only after Thomas Eric Duncan at Dallas
coming from Liberia started showing signs of EBOLA. He died after a few days
of treatment.It is a sad chapter in the history of the world nations that
no one comes forward till U.S. takes the initiative. In EBOLA virus
International response came very late and now has been accelerated with the
danger of EBOLA becoming a big threat to all the nations.Even the United
Nations response came very late. UNAIDS did not began until 1995 and
started to work seriously by 2000.The scariest thing about EBOLA virus is
how quickly and dramatically it kills initial infection to ghastly death in
only a matter of weeks.
UN Health agency said it fumbled early attempts to contain the EBOLA out
breaks in West Africa.WHO blamed numerous factors for now explosive EBOLA
epidemic including incompetent staff, bureaucracy and a lack of reliable