July 2014 – HEALTH – A new outbreak of Ebola is sweeping across countries in West Africa as authorities struggle to contain it. It has already killed nearly 400 people who suffered multiple organ failure and hemorrhaging. And it could spread to the UK if action is not taken to prevent it. The disease is passed through bodily fluids such as blood, semen and sweat. It starts with fever and fatigue before causing multiple organ failure and massive internal bleeding. It is feared passengers flying into Paris might carry the disease and could bring it to the UK if they travel on to London using the Eurostar. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned the rapid spread of the infection could get worse. Dr Luis Sambo said: “WHO is gravely concerned of the ongoing cross-border transmission as well as the potential for further inter-national spread.” Since it surfaced around four months ago, 90% of infected people have died from the disease. The first case was recorded on March 21 in Guinea. Since then it has killed 280 people in the country as it spread from remote areas to the capital Conakry.
“There is no vaccine, effective treatment or cure for Ebola.” It is thought the outbreak could have begun in January. On March 30 the virus was reported in Liberia, killing 41 victims. By late May, it had hit Sierra Leone where it has claimed 46 lives. Authorities are working to educate people on how the virus, above, spreads and how to prevent it. The tradition of washing bodies before burial, for example, increases the risk of transmission. There is no vaccine, effective treatment or cure for Ebola. Some victims survive after being given fluids, electrolytes and oxygen. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said the only way to stop it from spreading to our shores would be to implement drastic control measures. Professor David Heymann said: “European hospitals have good infection control measures in place which involve isolating fevers of unknown origin and using good clinical practices.” He said hospitals had to keep up their vigilance to ensure Ebola did not strike in the UK. Ebola takes its name from a river in the Congo where it was first recognized in 1976. The American Center for Disease Control said it is likely that infected animals, such as fruit bats, passed on the disease to humans. –Daily Star