Ebola in Africa

By: Tiffany Quinn

Its now safe to say that Ebola has sent the world into a state of panic. This fatal disease is currently being spread across continents and officials are unsure of what the next step should be in order to contain it. This disease is spread through direct contact with fluids of the infected person. The first recently diagnosed case came out of West Africa in March 2014 and has quickly become the deadliest epidemic of the disease since its discovery in 1976.

The disease is currently global, having hit countries such as the United States, Lebanon, Senegal, Mali, and Nigeria. According to the BBC – as stated in a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) – as of November 9, 2014 there have been 14,000 individuals that contracted Ebola, and 5,160 people that have perished since the outbreak first began. The WHO, however, states that these figures are possibly underestimates of all those who have been affected. This is a result of the lack of assistance and resources required to keep tabs on every individual that contracts the disease and who they come into contact with, especially in these third-world countries.

Despite all efforts to contain the disease, it still continues to spread. Recently, the African country of Mali confirmed two more cases of Ebola. The two unfortunate victims included a nurse  and a 70-year-old man from Guinea who she was treating for the disease. The Guinean man was feeling ill at the time, however, no one tested him for Ebola. He and three of his relatives drove to the Pasteur Clinic in Bamako to find treatment. The man passed away on October 27, 2014 and the nurse that treated him died soon after, unknowingly having treated an Ebola patient. More and more people are expected to contract the disease in the coming days. Because the man was of great faith, his body underwent many rituals and ceremonial cleansings and washings in which numerous people came into contact with his bodily fluid. His body was then prepared for a funeral in his native home where a large number of people attended.

In another attempt to prevent the disease from spreading, there are clinical trials of treatments expected to begin in December. Approximately 400 people are expected to participate in these trials and if the results are promising, then they will begin making vaccines. This will be the first time in history that human trials have been conducted on such a grand scale.


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