Monday, October 27, 2014

Symptoms of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

According the World Health Organization (WHO) symptoms of Ebola virus disease are a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts, and elevated liver enzymes. The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. Ebola victims become contagious when they commence manifesting visible symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period. Ebola infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.  

“If a person recovers from Ebola, they also will develop certain antibodies to the disease in their blood that confirm the disease was Ebola. In addition to blood tests, a doctor will also consider the person’s activities and whether they have come in contact with anyone who could have Ebola. (healthline.com) 

Ebnola victim is helped by healthcare worker in Liberia. He is at the full stage of the virus
“The Ebola virus does not have a cure or vaccine at this time. Instead, measures are taken to keep the person as comfortable as possible. Supportive care measures include:

(A) giving medications to maintain blood pressure; (B) managing electrolyte balances; (C) providing extra oxygen, if needed; (D) providing intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration; (E) treating co-existing infections and preventing other infections from occurring. People’s immune systems can respond differently to Ebola. While some may recover from the virus without complication, others can have residual effects like joint problems.” 

With the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, blame took the lead, and pointed fingers at the staff in Dallas, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Republicans, using Ebola to score political points in the upcoming mid-term elections, have successfully convinced a host of gullible citizens that President Obama and the CDC cannot be trusted to tell the truth about how the Ebola virus is contracted. Politicians and none medical pundits have decided that the virus is viral. Forget body fluids! 

Never mind that hospitals in America were not prepared to handle one case of Ebola, let alone a rush of cases. The CDC, nurses and doctors were caught flat-footed. The nurse at the front desk dropped the ball when Duncan entered the emergency room at the Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital. No one at the hospital had been sufficiently trained to administer medical care to an Ebola victim. The nurses were not adequately prepared to read the signs or symptoms of the virus. 

Duncan was in the emergency room for four hours with other people. He had a 100 degrees temperature. By the time he and his companion were dismissed, his temperature had elevated to 103, which did not alarm the staff. He was given some antibiotics and sent home. Duncan returned to the hospital three days later in full contagious mode, and a danger to anyone who was not properly dressed or prepared to approach him. He died of the virus. Because the Ebola virus is still contagious after death, Duncan was cremated. His ashes had to be handled with caution. His family could not have a funeral right away. They held a memorial service.

Lessons have since been learned from this experience. The Center for Disease and Control have created protocols for all hospital staff to follow. Nurses and doctors will now be properly dressed to avoid contact with body fluids when tending an individual infected with the Ebola virus. 

October 15 President Obama, in a meeting at the White House with top healthcare officials, told the group: “As soon as someone is diagnosed with Ebola, we want a rapid response team, a SWAT team, essentially from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so they are taking the local hospital step-by-step through exactly what needs to be done.  

Cured victims and nonvictims of Ebola bear the burden of stigmatization  

Unfortunately, if a cure for the Ebola virus disease was discovered tomorrow it would not cure the stigma that healed victims have to fight. In Africa individuals who have been rendered Ebola-free are treated like they are still infected, and capable of spreading the virus. They are ostracized by friends, family and neighbors.

Oretha Bestman-Yates, a resident of “Little Liberia” in Staten Island, New York, and president of the Staten Island Liberian Community, is stigmatized because she is from Liberia. She does not have, nor have she ever been infected with the Ebola virus. In July Bestman-Yates traveled to Liberia to see family, and when she returned to America her employer would let her return to work immediately. She was told to quarantine herself for 21 days. 

“But even after the 21-day period elapsed on 5 August, she says she has still not been allowed to return to work.

"People try to avoid you, pull away from you. I've had people tell me, 'We brought Ebola to the United States,'" she says. Many of the Staten Island Liberians are employed in hospitals and nursing homes and are being told not to touch patients. "Parents are telling their children to stay away from our children at school," she said. 

“Now there seems a growing perception that anyone of African descent may be carrying Ebola. And whether that person visited any of the affected countries recently appears to be of little relevance.

“Two Nigerian students were refused admission to Navarro College in Texas, because of a new college policy denying entry to students from countries affected by Ebola - even though Nigeria successfully brought its small outbreak under control. An airplane bound for Nigeria was grounded at JFK yesterday because staff refused to clean it.

“Furthermore, parents from a school in Jackson, Mississippi, withdrew their children from school when it was revealed that the principal had recently travelled to Zambia - in southern Africa.” (allafrica.com)

President Obama speaks at United Nations about epidemic in West Africa 

President Barack Obama
On September 25 President Obama said in a speech to the United Nations: “Ebola is a horrific disease.  It’s wiping out entire families.  It has turned simple acts of love and comfort and kindness -- like holding a sick friend’s hand, or embracing a dying child -- into potentially fatal acts.  If ever there were a public health emergency deserving an urgent, strong and coordinated international response, this is it. 

“But this is also more than a health crisis.  This is a growing threat to regional and global security.  In Liberia, in Guinea, in Sierra Leone, public health systems have collapsed.  Economic growth is slowing dramatically.  If this epidemic is not stopped, this disease could cause a humanitarian catastrophe across the region.  And in an era where regional crises can quickly become global threats, stopping Ebola is in the interest of all of us.

“Stopping Ebola is a priority for the United States.  I've said that this is as important a national security priority for my team as anything else that's out there.  We'll do our part.  We will continue to lead, but this has to be a priority for everybody else.  We cannot do this alone.  We don't have the capacity to do all of this by ourselves.  We don't have enough health workers by ourselves.  We can build the infrastructure and the architecture to get help in, but we're going to need others to contribute.”

Some countries have committed to helping financially to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, but the checks are slow to come in. President Obama has committed $100 million, and the Pentagon is trying to find another half million dollars. The World Bank is forecasting that it will take $32.6 billion to curtail the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea by 2015. The United Nation has set a budget of $1 billion to train local medical staff, build portable hospitals, furnishing them with beds, staff and equipment.

President Obama has sent 3,000 troops to West Africa to train healthcare workers, build 17 treatment centers and to establish a Military Central Center. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will need three to four times the medical and public healthcare workers as are currently working with Ebola victims today. There is a need for 600 more doctors, and 1,000 workers to track and test contacts.

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