According to the Center of Disease Control, seventy percent of diagnosed patients die from the Ebola virus. With it now appearing in the United States, are you at risk?
Formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease is a severe and often fatal illness to humans. Believed to have developed from fruit bats, Ebola is transmitted through people by contact with bodily fluids, such as sweat or saliva.
Symptoms begin showing anytime between 2 to 21 days after contracting the virus, and the average span being 8 to 10 days. These symptoms include fever greater than 101.5 degrees, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, nausea, abdominal pains, bleeding through orifices and, potentially, death. Ebola fatality rates range from 25 percent to 90 percent during outbreaks.
From its time of identification in 1976 to 2013, the World Health Organization reported a total of 1,716 cases. Now ongoing since February 2014, the West African Ebola outbreak is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, a host of other African countries and now the United States, causing cases to spread steadily.
Early care with rehydration treatment improves chances of survival. There is, as of yet, no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus, but treatments have been used that have seemed to work.
As Americans, we are extremely uneducated on global matters. A majority of the population did not know what Ebola was prior to the recent discovery of the infected patient in Texas. Because we are so uneducated, this virus has the potential to affect a large amount of the world population.
La Plata High School nurse Sheila Brockmann said, “When something is new, it’s tragic, but a lot of information will come from this.”
The question now is why does the United States have to be the place for potential tragedy? Yes, as a medically developed nation we should help and provide aid to those in need; however, the U.S. should not endanger their citizens by allowing transportation to and from infected areas.
By not putting a temporary halt to transportation, the potential for further outbreaks increases dramatically. Agreeing with the stop in transportation, La Plata history teacher John Childers said, “This could be catastrophic … so they have to take care of it quick and start by stopping flights.”
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention claims to have the virus under control, yet the fear of a fatal epidemic still exists simply from how quickly it could spread in an area. The virus has already been found in Texas and New York. All it takes is for one person in the local area to catch the virus and share a drink with a friend or sneeze, and it can be passed on.
“It would be easy to contain it if it hadn’t already come this far,” senior Azaria Kelly said.
At this point an Ebola outbreak can occur at any given time. Had the U.S. not allowed transportation to and from infected areas, our current population would not be at such an increased risk.
Kevin Barry, a history teacher at La Plata, said, “If we don’t contain [Ebola] globally, then it can hurt us domestically.”