Friday, 1 August 2014

News: Ebola outbreak kills 670

The largest ever outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease has hit Western Africa, killing over 670 people so far.

The first reports of the outbreak came from Guinea in February, but the disease has since spread to Liberia, who have closed their schools, and Sierra Leone, who are now under quarantine.

The President of Sierra Leone announced yesterday: “Public meetings will be restricted, houses will be searched for infected people, Parliament will be recalled and top officials will be obliged to cancel all but essential overseas travel.”

Ebola is a disease which begins with a fever and flu-like symptoms, and can also cause internal bleeding. It is contracted when a person comes into contact with the bodily fluids of an Ebola sufferer. The World Health Organisation states that it has up to a 90% mortality rate, and there is no definite cure.

One man, Patrick Sawyer, was carrying the disease as he took a flight from Liberia to Nigeria on July 20th. Sawyer died in a Lagos hospital on the 25th. Two people who may have came into contact with him on his journey have since been put under quarantine, and 69 others are under surveillance.
The three countries are amongst the poorest in the world. This is also the first outbreak in this area of Africa, so there is little awareness of the disease.

Dozens of people who have tested positive for Ebola have gone missing in Sierra Leone due to the lack of trust in their healthcare system. Many people believe that their doctors are causing the outbreak. This haven’t been helped by the top Ebola doctor in the country contracting the disease and being unable to treat patients.

Mohammed Tholley, Sierra Leonean cyclist, has disappeared from Glasgow where he was scheduled to compete at the Commonwealth Games. It is believed that this is due to fears of contracting the disease. His team-mate Moses Sesay was quarantined for four days in Scotland before being given the all-clear.

The risk of Ebola coming to the UK has been deemed as “very low” by the NHS. It has been said that even if the virus does come to the country, facilities will be good enough to contain and treat it. A man showing symptoms was tested in London after flying from Liberia, but the results came back as negative.

Different organisations are donating money to help the under-developed countries control the virus, including the European commission, who are giving €2m (£1.6m) of aid.

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