Ebola Outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

in Infectious Diseases/Public Health by

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are in the midst of an outbreak of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. The numbers that have been provided by the respective ministries of health and sanitation and the World Health Organization, which has been summarized in a CDC factsheet show frightening trends. Before proceeding further, let us take a look at the numbers of the suspected and confirmed cases, suspected deaths and laboratory confirmed cases in these three nations:

 

Ebola Outbreak Summary (CDC)
Ebola Outbreak Summary (CDC)

I have always been interested in the Ebola virus, not only because it is one scary killer of a bug, but also because not much is known about the whereabouts of this well publicized virus. It has always attracted media frenzy because it fits the profile of a killer virus some super-villain in a Robin Cook thriller has grown in his mad-scientist-laboratories. The Ebola virus is primarily reared by bats. This CDC diagram is quite helpful in appreciating whatever little is clearly known about the virus:

 

Ebola Ecology (CDC)
Ebola Ecology (CDC)

There have been almost annual outbreak of bouts of Ebola in this region over the past few years. I remember blogging elsewhere about another outbreak in Guinea a year or so ago. This indicates that in addition to being a virulent killer, this virus has some ability to come back in waves. While understanding the epidemiology maybe slightly difficult given the occult index case(s), it is a fair assumption that it has its roots in an epizootic transmission. This virus is also similar in genotype and nature to the Zaire subtype that was previously identified in Zaire and Gabon. This might mean that there are underlying themes of migrating reservoirs (bats!) that needs to be checked out. A map of the affected areas seems to suggest some continuity that might support such a hypothesis.

Ebola Outbreak Map (CDC 2014)
Ebola Outbreak Map (CDC 2014)

Overall, this outbreak is still progressing and many more cases and deaths can be expected. And the problem remains, that since this is a disease affecting primarily the African poor, the Pharmaceutical industries and for-profit industries shall find little enthusiasm in finding a remedy for this ill.

Skeptic Oslerphile, Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

1 Comment

  1. Ebola in USA – I Agree with Judge Jeanine Pirro about what to do!

    Help Do Something – Sign the Petition Now! And Spread the Word Not The Virus!

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/have-faa-ban-all-incoming-and-outgoing-flights-ebola-stricken-countries-until-ebola-outbreak/FFJHH9yX

    The 1918 Flu Virus Pandemic infected over 500 million people across the world, including the USA, remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and killed 50 to 100 million of them, that’s a 10 to 20 percent death rate.

    A large factor in the worldwide occurrence of this flu was increased travel. Modern transportation systems made it easier for soldiers, sailors, and civilian travelers to spread the disease.

    Now we have Jumbo Jets and the Ebola Virus….. With a 70 to 90 percent death rate!

    Help Do Something – Sign the Petition Now! And Spread the Word Not The Virus!

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