In 2014, an outbreak of a virus known as Ebola caught the attention of the whole world. Previously, not many people knew about this deadly disease, but in 2014 that changed as it dominated headline news. The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak an international health emergency as people fell victim to this vicious disease.
Ebola is a viral illness, and the first symptoms of it are similar to the flu – but as the illness progresses, the more severe symptoms start to show themselves, vomiting and bleeding (both internal and external, with sufferers bleeding from mouth, nose and eyes). The Ebola virus is not a new thing, it comes from humans coming into contact with infected animals such as chimpanzees and bats. It was discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, and there are cases of the disease in remote villages in the Central and West African region every year.
The outbreak in 2014 was different – which is what made it so deadly. It originated in Guinea, which was an area that had previously no recorded cases of the disease. Because it is highly contagious (even a funeral of an Ebola victim must be attended with caution as the disease can still be spread after death), the disease spread quickly into the urban areas of the country, then to neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Because the virus is transferred through bodily fluids and the victim suffering from the disease will vomit and bleed it is easy to see how the disease spread so quickly through the region. The World Health Organisation produced a list of protective clothing and equipment that health workers must use when treating and caring for an Ebola sufferer, including goggles, rubber boots, full body suit and respirator. People leaving Sierra Leone had to have their temperature taken before boarding a flight – anyone who’s temperature was higher than it should be was not allowed to leave until it was ensured that they had not contracted the illness.
Despite this, the disease did spread to other parts of the world. A British nurse has made a recovery from the disease upon returning to Britain, but a Liberian Doctor and Spanish priest lost their lives to the disease. This outbreak took the world by surprise and showed the need to develop a cure for the disease. Many diseases have been cured when an outbreak has threatened many lives across the world, and companies who do paid research studies such as https://www.trials4us.co.uk/ are always looking for newer and better ways to attack illnesses.
The future is looking brighter however as an experimental vaccine has proved highly effective in preventing the spread of the deadly disease – so hopefully there will never be a repeat of the outbreak of 2014.