Ebola in Africa

For the week 6 post I chose Ebola in Africa as it is the most current of major disease outbreak in the modern world as well as has a history of existence in Africa such as in Guinea. The Ebola virus has a history that begins in the mid 70s around Sudan. It was here where the disease existed in its first isolated incident. The disease comes from a location in Zaire near the Ebola River. Following the mid 1970’s, Ebola has had several outbreaks up until the 1990’s and once more currently. The current outbreak of the disease is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be an epidemic that is nearly out of control. A current situation with the disease is that it has also spread to doctors from the US who now are being treated in sealed off contamination wards in Atlanta. Ebola is recognized to be a nasty disease due to its severe symptoms of fever, nausea, diarrhea, muscular problems, as well as a decline in liver and kidney functions. It is spread through the bodily fluids and a 50%+ mortality rate. What is being done to prevent such rapid spreading of the disease is quite difficult. However, authorities have been attempting to contain the problem and keep those affected quarantined. This sounds like a great choice, but the problem these authorities face is the resistance on behalf of the victim’s loved ones due to fear and ignorance towards the situation. Loved ones are protesting the removal of the infected person for fear of organ trafficking, religious beliefs, etc.

The article that I found for the subject does not deal with humans, but with apes. Anthropologists, veterinarians, as well as biology researchers have been studying the effects of the ebola virus on local wildlife in Africa. The study shows that ebola’s deadly nature is also affecting thousands of wildlife, primarily apes. Although it is not known what makes it affect specific animals such as apes and Chimpanzees, the damage is incredible. The study is from 2007, but was conducted during 2005-2006 during one of the most recent outbreaks of Ebola. Medical professionals and anthropologists researched and crunched umbers to show that over 50% of the infected population of apes died. The study, although not pertaining to people, provides insight on the mortality rates in attempts to understand the direness of the situation.

Scientists Say Ebola Has Pushed Western Gorillas to the Brink
Gretchen Vogel
Science, New Series, Vol. 317, No. 5844 (Sep. 14, 2007), p. 1484
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20037777


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