Although those of living in the US can rest easy when it comes to Ebola, that’s anything but the case in several other countries. In Liberia, for example, Ebola is quickly spreading. The president of Liberia has issued a nighttime curfew and imposed a quarantine on one section of the capital (Monrovia) in an effort to halt the deadly virus.
This latest Ebola outbreak apparently started in Guinea, and has since spread to Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. There is currently no known cure for it, and the World Health Organization has officially declared that untested drugs can be tried on any patients with Ebola in West Africa—not a good sign, and indicative of the scope of the problem. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and a cure may be in sight: just last week, three doctors infected with Ebola who were taking an experimental drug showed excellent signs of progress, according to a Liberian official.
Here are some general Ebola facts:
- In the past year, Ebolas killed 1,229 people (almost all of them West African).
- The initial symptoms are flu-like, but can quickly progress to severe bleeding through the eyes and gums, and organ failure.
- Ebola is transmitted via contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.
- The incubation period—the time after initial contraction, before any signs or symptoms occur—lasts 2 to 21 days.
- The fatality rate is usually as high as 90%. This latest outbreak has a fatality rate of 55%—significantly better, but little cause for celebration.
- Ebola’s natural host is thought to be fruit bats, which happen to be a delicacy in West Africa.
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