Sierra Leone has now been declared to be in a state of emergency due to the Ebola virus outbreak.
So far, at least 670 people (source: WHO) have died in West Africa in what is being called the most deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus that mankind has ever seen. According to Dr. Hebert, the West African territories that are in close quarters and separated by small borders means that the Ebola virus has been able to spread quickly. The death count has now arrived at 729.
The new threat is internationally, as has been the case with one American who returned from West Africa to a Charlotte, NC hospital. The entire hospital staff was on edge when the individual reported that they had just returned from West Africa (the hotbed for Ebola at this time), but fortunately, the individual did not test positive for Ebola.
The US, in particular, is now concerned about what Ebola could mean for its borders as internationals and Americans travel here from West Africa. Doctors say here that the US is equipped to deal with a possible case of Ebola outbreak here and that Americans shouldn’t fear a widespread situation in the States. Currently, North Carolinian Samaritan’s Purse missionary Nancy Writebol and Texas resident Dr. Kent Brantley are in West Africa fighting for their lives after having contracted the virus in the region. According to Writebol’s son, she is doing somewhat better though still fighting through the worst of the virus in Liberia. Dr. Brantley, who also worked with Samaritan’s Purse, is having some small recovery as well though still under symptoms currently.
UK and Hong Kong officials declared today that they’re “quarantining airline passengers who have shown symptoms of the deadly disease,” as quoted in USA Today. Pan-African Airlines has stopped flights both to and from West Africa in order to contain the Ebola virus within borders and not cause an international outbreak, hysteria, or both after native Liberian Patrick Sawyer contracted the Ebola virus and later died after flying to Nigeria.
At this point, American doctors are calming the fears of American citizens by urging them to come forward immediately if they aren’t feeling well and monitor themselves over a period of 21 days to watch for Ebola. Also, medical experts are urging doctors to inquire about the travel histories of patients who enter into the ER in days and weeks to come. What we know about the Ebola virus is that Ebola is similar in external symptoms to the flu. “Doctors must really pay attention,” said WDSU Chief Medical Educator Dr. Corey Hebert.