African ministers and health experts are in Ghana to hammer out a strategy to tackle the biggest ever outbreak of Ebola epidemic in western Africa. The WHO has already warned that drastic action will be required to halt the spread of the killer disease.
From March to the end of June about 759 cases of Ebola has been identified in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of these 467 patients have died making it the largest in terms of the number of cases and deaths as well as geographical spread.
This particular strain of Ebola virus can kill up to 90% of those infected. Dr. Peter Piot, the scientist who had first discovered the virus in the 70’s said to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the situation is “unprecedented.” Unprecedented because it is happening for the first time in West Africa, Secondly it has spread across three countries and thirdly unlike previous incidences which have happened in rural areas, this outbreak has happened in capital cities.
The looming crisis has brought health ministers and officials from 11 African nations. Also present are Ebola survivors, representatives from Airlines, as well as mining companies and donor nations who are funding the campaign to contain the epidemic.
Meanwhile new cases of Ebola keep pouring in.22 new cases have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO said. Of those, 14 died.
Ebola is a very virulent disease and is spread via body fluids making the health workers and doctors also vulnerable. The symptoms mimic flu like headache, diarrhea, and emesis. The virus interferes with the clotting mechanism of the body leading to hemorrhages and severe blood loss. Most fatalities occur within 10 days of the infection. The most dangerous aspect of the disease is that travelers are not aware they are carriers of the disease since it takes two to 21 days for the symptoms to appear after infection.