One year ago, the World Health Organization first mentioned that there was an Ebola outbreak, and since then more than 10,000 people have died due to the disease worldwide. The disease has primarily slowed way down within the past six months, although it is still causing death and destruction in West Africa.
The head of the United Nations’ Ebola mission, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, told the BBC that he believes the outbreak could be completely gone by August. Ahmed said that the beginning stages of dealing with the Ebola virus were rough because there was still a lot of things not known about the disease, but through the months, more research and knowledge has been gained on how to treat and stop the disease from progressing. Ahmed feels that due to the effort from all around the world, Ebola is likely to cease by summer. The aggressive treatments for those that have the disease as well as the quarantines have helped stopped the disease from spreading even further.
The prediction comes shortly after Liberia announced that there was another case of Ebola, even though there has not been an active case in the country for nearly 3 weeks. The WHO requires that a country or state go 42 days without a case of Ebola in order for it to declare the country or state free of the disease. The incubation period for Ebola is 22 days, so it’s still not certain how this new patient in Liberia caught the disease. Liberia was fairly close to being declared Ebola-free, which means that progress is being made at stopping the disease from spreading, although over 4,200 people have died from Ebola in Liberia alone.
There have not been many cases of Ebola in countries like the United States, but Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea saw thousands of people die due to the disease. There have been a lot of international aid workers that have been disgusted and angry with the response after the first few cases of Ebola were confirmed, which dates back to December 2013. Back in December 2013, groups like the WHO were not very fast at responding to the outbreak, which led to even more people coming into contact with this disease. Ebola was able to spread like wildfire within a few short months mostly due to the rapid progression and contagiousness of the disease, which is still something that is being researched.
The WHO released a report that detailed the number of deaths from Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and the number is currently at 10,299. It is not known if this is officially the correct number, partially because there are other issues that could hinder finding out the causes of deaths in the region, such as some people coming down with malaria. Ebola could have been an underlying cause for some of the deaths that ended up being contributed to other illnesses, since Ebola compromises the immune system, and then makes the person more susceptible to other infections and diseases.
While it’s still unclear whether or not the United Nations is accurate on the assessment that Ebola will be gone by summer, countries from around the world have learned a lot from this experience, but it’s been at the expense of human lives. Ebola is a disease that is still being researched and most scientists and doctors still don’t have all of the answers about treating the disease or stopping it from spreading. The lack of knowledge about this disease is a big part of why so many people have died, but through the past year, all countries have figured out at least in part, ways to combat and fight back against the outbreak.