United States health officials have issued travel warnings for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone; all three African countries have reported cases of Ebola outbreaks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging U.S. residents to avoid unnecessary travel to the West African countries to avoid what they call an “unprecedented” Ebola outbreak.
In the course of just over a week, 729 deaths due to the Ebola virus have been reported. Guinea has reported the most cases of Ebola-related deaths at 339. Sierra Leone has reports of 233 deaths, while Liberia has 156. The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it is launching a $100-million response plan to combat the Ebola outbreak. At least three Americans have been infected with the Ebola virus so far.
Doctors Without Borders is one of the many organizations that’s responded swiftly to fight against the outbreak in Sierra Leone, but a severe lack of personnel is slowing their efforts. Emergency coordinator Anja Wolz said, “We only have the possibility to work in the case management centers, and we don’t have the capacity to go outside. The situation is quite difficult. I would say, we are on the top of an iceberg in the moment because the contact tracing is not really functioning. This is one of the major issues what we have.”
First identified in Africa in 1976, Ebola received its named from where it was first recognized, the Ebola River. The disease is known to cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and hemorrhaging from the eyes, ears and nose. The fatality rate for Ebola can be as high as 90 percent. Additionally, there is no vaccine or cure for Ebola.
In 2002, 96 Ebola-related deaths were reported between Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. Four years later, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 187 of the 264 reported Ebola victims died.
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