Back in March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) was contacted for an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea, West Africa. Just recently in August of this year, the WHO declared this major epidemic to be a “public health emergency of international concern.” (New England Journal of Medicine 2014)
I am not familiar with the Ebola virus, but each time there is a spread of any sort of disease in Africa, it is often times very serious. Diseases that have known to derive from West Africa are most likely fatal or life-threatening. It is very important that we as travelers and tourists are safe in other countries and we are all aware of any potential dangers. I always wanted to visit South Africa and possibly do some projects there but my main concern now is my health and safety.
By the second week of September 2014, approximately 4,500 individuals had confirmed and probable cases, with 2296 deaths stemming from EVD (Zaire species) being reported from 5 countries in West Africa. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) These numbers of Ebola cases seem to be increasing pretty fast and if you are in West Africa as of right now, you have to be worried. Epidemics like this one in Guinea make me think twice about traveling out of the country because my health may be at risk. It’s a good thing we have private jets and commercial airlines because when epidemics like this occur in other countries, we can be in and out of there in no time.
The case fatality rate was estimated to be 70% and the majority of patients are 15 to 44 years old with 50% being males. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) I have never been to West Africa before but the population in Guinea must be dominated by males. The reason I say this is because over half of the patients were middle-aged males. I would like to find out other reasons why males were more likely to get the Ebola virus than females. The chances of fatality are kind of high also as patients who get the Ebola virus are not very likely to survive long after. That’s why it is very important that you report any signs or symptoms of this disease for early diagnosis and treatment.
How to Prevent the Spread of Ebola Virus?
This scary epidemic began in Guinea during December 2013. Ebola virus is mostly spread through contact with the body fluids of symptomatic patients. Therefore, transmission can be stopped by contact tracing, early diagnosis, patient isolation and care, safe burial, and infection control. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) This is very helpful information for any tourist or individual traveling or is already in West Africa. Taking these safety measures can avoid any possible spread of the Ebola virus and keep us safe.
Forward projects suggest that unless control measures- including adequate case isolation, contact tracing, increased capacity for clinical management (bigger hospitals/clinics), and community and international support- improve fast, these 3 countries ( Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) will soon be reporting thousands of deaths and cases each week. (New England Journal of Medicine 2014) To say the least, I hope this Ebola virus epidemic gets under control and we all get to travel and explore other countries safely. Thank you and God bless.
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Internet Marketer and Real Estate Investor.
Source: WHO Ebola Response Team. The New England Journal of Medicine “Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa – The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projects”, September 23, 2014 Massachusetts Medical Society 2014