Ebola has made a return in a big way. This is the world’s worst ever Ebola crisis. With over 3,000 cases appearing in Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, and now Senegal, the World Health Organization (WHO) has become concerned that Ebola has the potential to go worldwide. Ebola is a virus which causes hemorrhagic fever which is fever accompanied by internal and external bleeding. It originated through the human consumption of equatorial animals and is spread through being in contact with bodily fluids. The virus attacks the body’s vital organs and is accompanied by uncontrolled bleeding, as well as impaired organ function (kidney, liver, etc.) and uncontrolled vomiting. There are five different strains, the Zaire strain being the most deadly. This strain is most common in Guinea as of right now. The virus’ symptoms can come out 2 to 21 days after infection, and can often be mistaken for malaria.  Recent statistics released by WHO have found that 56% of Ebola cases are fatal, ranging from Sierra Leone’s 42% to Guinea’s 66%. 40% of the epidemic’s cases have occurred in the past 3 weeks.

However, recent advances in medicine may have found the cure for one of the world’s most deadly viruses. A few weeks ago, two missionary doctors who had been helping Ebola patients in Liberia came down with the deadly virus. After the symptoms were positively identified, they were taken on private planes to a rarely used quarantine ward at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. They were given a serum from a medical company called Mapp Biopharmaceutical, and after a few hours, their symptoms were seen to improve dramatically. Fortunately, they both lived. This medication raises controversy. Though, does it really work? This question was posed after the drug was administered to a priest who had contracted the virus and died shortly after. Though we may be a long way off from finding a sure cure for the epidemic, we may have taken some very important towards eradicating a very serious disease.

What does this mean to us Americans? Many Americans were opposed to bringing the two missionaries back to the US, as it was the first time that Ebola was ever in the United States. 40% of Americans are convinced that there will be a massive Ebola outbreak – but health officials beg to differ. Ebola has an almost zero probability of breaking out in developed countries like the US. On its website, the group International SOS, which helps evacuate foreign travelers needing hospital care from third world countries, posted : “The risk of Ebola is also lower in more developed countries because they have the resources needed to implement best practices if a case — or suspected case — occurs. Even if an Ebola case were detected, authorities have the ability to quickly handle the case properly and prevent spread in the community.”

Article written by Eleni Fafoutis.