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Ebola: Understanding the Disease

Until the 2014 outbreak that claimed thousands of lives, most of the world was unaware of the Ebola virus and it’s deadly effects. It’s a disease that can mimic many other common illnesses in it’s early stages,and most are still unsure how to recognize it.  


Some of the symptoms of Ebola include sudden fever, sore throat, headache and intense weakness. Other symptoms like muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea appear later on during the latter half of the onset of infection. Overall, it takes roughly 21 days for most symptoms to appear from the time of the initial contact.


Although the outbreaks mainly occur in Central and West African remote villages, once contracted, it is easily spread and hard to contain. From 1976 to 2013, there were less than 1500 reported Ebola related deaths, however that number surpassed five thousand in fall 2014. Part of the outbreak was due to poor training of aid workers in Central and West Africa, and of the general public on how to properly dispose of  infected bodies after death.


During the recent occurrence, several American physicians were infected. The US had experienced its first outbreak on American soil, and it was a lesson in preparation for many medical facilities, as most were unprepared to treat the disease. How much we’ve learned from the ordeal is yet to be known. Hopefully we’ll be better trained and equipped in the future.