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As an outline, the paper will commence by giving a brief introduction on the Ebola pandemic especially in the West African Countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leon. It would lead to the thesis of the paper. It will then give some of the causatives that have been responsible for its outbreak in the regions. Following will be the management, control, as well as, the prevention of the disease, and also the challenges that have been experienced by the health workers who help in the fight against Ebola. The research will then end by giving the ways that could be used in treating it before giving a conclusion.
Ebola is a deadly epidemic that is currently taking a toll in the West African countries. The virus has resulted in widespread deaths with reported cases increasing by over seventy percent over the years. The virus was first witnessed in the 1970s with an outbreak in the Sub-Saharan Africa. The outbreak of Ebola has reached epidemic levels since the first outbreaks that were witnessed were brought under a commendable control in just a few weeks. Currently, the epidemic has killed more than ten thousand people in West Africa alone. It proves the fact that the world is still not prepared to counter such a global epidemic.
The following research paper will, therefore, tackle the issue of the deadly Ebola virus. It will commence by providing a background of the disease thereby presenting a discussion of the controversial aspects of the Ebola topic. Lastly, it will identify gaps and places that give way to further research on the Ebola epidemic. The research will achieve this through the inclusion and analysis of various relevant and credible materials. The research has its aims inclined in the idea that several people have continued to suffer as a result of the deadly Ebola virus. It has thus become increasingly important to acknowledge the opportunity to learn from the epidemic so as to prevent the next outbreak of a formidable magnitude as the ones that have been experienced before. (Lerner & Lerner, 2006, p. 65)
Widespread poverty, a health care system that is largely dysfunctional, an existing mistrust among the officials of the government after several years of conflict, delayed response when Ebola breaks and the lack of a systematic way of surveying the outbreak of the disease all contribute to the outbreak of Ebola. A majority of these cases are exhibited in poor countries hence the disease being mostly experienced in the West African countries. Other causes of the disease may include washing of dead bodies and the resulting spread to the densely populated towns and cities. As the progression of the disease increased, most hospitals fell short of staff, as well as, supplies. It led to some researchers concluding that the inability to tackle other medical aspects is responsible for the increased deaths that have been so witnessed. The hospital workers who come in contact with the body fluids of the affected individuals are also more vulnerable to contracting the disease. It is notable that the spread of Ebola is through body contact and, as a result, patients of Ebola can easily infect others making them readily identifiable in the population. (Anderson, 2006, p. 21)
Most of the discussions on the outbreak of Ebola have centred on whether WHO, Centres for the control of the disease, as well as, prevention and other responsible stakeholders have adequately responded to the epidemic. It is notable that the problem is not how efficient the systems have been. The problem is that there are no systems at all. The lack of a disease surveillance unit in the countries has been identified as being the largest cause and spread of the disease. Since the disease was recognised a while back, there has not been an adequate mapping of the places that the disease have occurred. In addition, minimal efforts have been made to determine the travel patterns of people so that the prediction of the next place that the disease may go can be found. Trained personnel on the control of the illness should have flooded the affected regions so that the disease be effectively managed. Instead, it took the doctors several months to arrive on the ground.
The failure to invest in competent and adequate medical equipment has also been largely responsible for the spread of the disease. Such equipment and tools include vaccines, drugs and also diagnostic tests. Averagely, diagnostic tests of Ebola take around three to four days to be known. It is a long period where the people are quarantined until when the results have been known. The drugs that could have also been used in treating the deadly virus were also not tested not until when the disease had reached its peak. It has been for the reason that the health sector has no explicit methods of expediting the approval of various drugs. Data is also hugely a problem in tackling the disease. During its outbreak, the data that dictates its spread is always vastly inaccurate. It might be for the reason that normally, the situation at hand is always very chaotic and thus the data is collected at one point before finally being sent to an entirely different location for analysis. Such are just a few ways that show how most countries are ill-prepared during the times of disease outbreaks. There is also no single organisation in the world that is entirely funded so as to respond effectively to the spread of an epidemic such as Ebola.
Anderson (2006) states that an entire clarity on how the outbreak of Ebola starts remains unknown. The first infection of the virus is widely believed to occur after the transmission of the virus to a human through the contact of the body fluids of the affected individual. Bats have been widely placed by evidence as the hosts of the virus. Partially eaten fruits, as well as, pulp are dropped by the bats and then the mammals on the land e.g. gorillas feed on these dropped fruits. The chain forms an indirect way of transmitting the deadly Ebola virus from its initial host to other animals, human beings included. Studies have shown that the human transmissions mainly occur only through the contact of the body fluids such as blood. It may also spread when one comes into contact with the objects that have been recently handled by an infected person. It is notable that the transmission by air has not been proved so far though aerosols that are infectious may lead to its spread on a limited scale. The transmissions that have far been witnessed urgently calls for the containment and control of the virus so as to cut on the spread.
The first method that can be effectively used to monitor the continued outbreak of Ebola is through contact tracing, as well as, surveillance which offers an essential way of preventing and controlling the disease. A surveillance of the community should be carried out so that any possible case of the disease can be, registered, recorded and also accurately countered as soon as possible. Consequently, persons who have had a close contact with the affected individuals should also be established so that they are immediately quarantined within a period not exceeding twenty-one days. The above activity requires an accurate keeping of records by experienced and well-trained staff in the sector. Because of the limited number of the health personnel, an effort should be made to ensure that volunteers and more health workers are equipped with the necessary information regarding the spread of Ebola, especially in the affected countries. The workers should also be in a position to adequately manage the disease without themselves contracting it. (Hirschmann, 2007, p. 21)
The other way of preventing Ebola is through undertaking a community awareness. The risk factors for the Ebola infection should be made known to the public. Various protective activities that can be undertaken to curtail the disease should also be known especially in the localities that have been vastly affected by the deadly virus. The measures that can be taken include avoiding body contact with those infected and efficiently cleaning one’s hands with disinfectant soap and water. An extreme level of poverty has been known to exist in the areas that have are enormously stricken by the virus. Various studies have indicated that the poor living conditions, as well as, the absence of water toppled by little sanitation have increased the infections by the deadly virus to soaring levels that have never been witnessed in recent times.
Lerner & Lerner (2006) mentions that one easily realises that the affected people do not remember to wash their hands when the problem of water has continuously persisted. The locals among the communities of the West African countries should be enrolled in the awareness creation so that that they conduct a formidable public awareness in their societies. It is because the inclusion of the locals in various campaigns primarily increases the positive reception of the information regarding the outbreak of Ebola. Social mobilisation ensures that the right and proper information regarding the Ebola virus is conveyed not only to the communities infected but also those that are susceptible to be affected.
The public awareness that has so far been created has met numerous challenges in the affected regions. There has been a large denial in some of the countries thus making the containment efforts very difficult. A language barrier between the medical teams and the locals has also increasingly made the awareness difficult. It is because, in most cases, the locals can only communicate in their local dialect. The appearance of the medical and the awareness teams also increases the fears of the locals in contracting the disease. For this reason, there has been a mob attack on the Ebola isolation centres with Liberia being the best example. The staff have thus been forced to halt their operations for fear of their safety as many of them have been injured or to some extremes killed.
The prevention of Ebola can also be undertaken by imposing travel restrictions and quarantining the infected individuals and also regions. It is because a concern that the disease may spread to other parts of Africa and also other countries of the world exists. The epidemic fighting practise which isolates the affected regions forcibly ought to be put in place. An example is the triangular region of Guinea, Sierra Leon and also Liberia. In the area, checkpoints within the major roads were established. They established body temperatures and washing of hands in the areas. Such checkpoints could be manned by the military and police or even volunteers. Travel restrictions to and from the regions affected have been widely imposed by several countries so that the spread of Ebola is not witnessed in the host countries. It has largely assisted in preventing the outbreaks of the disease as those that have been infected are isolated before coming into contact with other individuals and members of the countries. (Anderson, 2006, p. 55)
The issue of the returning workers has also been thorny over time. The workers include reporters, volunteers and the health personnel. Concern has been raised in that they may be incubating the Ebola virus back in their countries when they return from their assignments. In order to further the prevention of the disease, a guideline for the returning individuals should be put in place by the stakeholders involved. The guidelines are based on the exposure of the risk that the health personnel and the other workers were exposed to in the countries that played host to them.
Over time, the treatment of Ebola has continued to rock the scientific world. It is notable that at the moment, there is no particular Ebola medication that has been discovered. Only the measures that upon undertaking improves the chances of survival of those infected exists. The symptoms of Ebola begins within a short period of infection making it easy to identify one who has been infected. The symptoms of Ebola include tiredness, fever and muscle and joint pains. Headache and abdominal pains may be later experienced characterised by vomiting and also diarrhoea. In some cases, patients bleed internally, as well as, externally thereby losing a lot of blood. The bleeding comes from various openings of the body such as the nose and ears. (Lerner & Lerner, 2006, p. 34)
In conclusion, the approval of better and new approaches to tackling the epidemic should be undertaken as have also been affirmed by Bill Gates. It is notable that the United Nations is largely in a position to fund, as well as, empower various world institutions that coordinate the efforts that fight the outbreak of Ebola. It has been realised that the prevention of such a great epidemic is worth the attention of the world. Structural studies that lead to more knowledge of the epidemic should be carried out to ensure that the fight against Ebola is won. The incompleteness of the medical description of the disease would be broadly significant, therefore, leading to the development of infrastructure used in fighting the epidemic. The dangerous circumstances that surround the outbreak of Ebola could also be easily mitigated just as mentioned by Hirschmann (2007). The above discussion has thus conclusively acknowledged and presented a learning aimed at preventing the widespread effects of the Ebola virus. It has achieved this by giving a brief introduction of the disease, offering its causatives, control and prevention and also its treatment thereby fulfilling the aim of the research.
Anderson, R. (2006). Outbreak. Washington, D.C.: ASM Press.
Hirschmann, K. (2007). The Ebola virus. Detroit, MI: Lucent Books/Thomson Gale.
Lerner, K., & Lerner, B. (2006). Medicine, health, and bioethics. Detroit, Mich.: Thomson Gale.