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The Occurrence of Ebola Virus

Introduction

Ebola is a viral disease that was first detected in 1976 in Central Africa. The disease is normally associated with high fever an hemorrhage. The disease has a fatality rate of nearly 90% when contracted by humans. The Ebola virus is said to have originated from animals before it spread to humans. Contact made between animals and human beings through bodily fluids was the onset of the disease. Infected humans are both the vector and host of the virus, which is then spread to other individuals through broken skin.

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The description insinuates that a small amount of virus often leads to a fatal infection due to a high replication rate once in the body. Currently, there is an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which threatens to spread to other countries. The most affected countries include Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia (Katz, Wild, Elmore & Lucan, 2013).

The outbreak in West Africa has overwhelmed the health systems, leading to international intervention to arrest the situation. A significant number of health workers are frequently infected with the virus while treating patients in a situation where the health practitioner fails to adhere to safe health practices. The virus is persistent; thus, individuals remain infectious until they are ridded-off the virus. Once infected, an individual can stay up to three weeks before the symptoms become evident. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that there is no available treatment or vaccine at the moment (Ebola Fast Facts, 2014).

Threat Assessment of Ebola and Impact of the Illness

Ebola is a highly sophisticated disease due to its mechanism in the body; hence the recent outbreak ranks its threat at an all-time high. People around the world fear the disease because of its lethal nature and manner of death. In the past, such outbreaks were easy to contain since they mostly occurred in remote locations. However, globalization and advance in travel provide a challenge of containing the Ebola virus in 2014.

There are reported cases of Ebola in the United States and Spain in the event when a medical practitioner travels back to his or her country. Additionally, the long incubation period of up to three weeks makes it difficult to trace all the contacts made by an infected individual. Such situations necessitate a rapid threat assessment, and proper classification of the disease in its actual threat level (Fabregas, 2014).

The threat level of the disease can be determined by the travel patterns of foreigners to the affected countries. International travels increase the risk of spreading the disease; hence, it is important to review these travels and put up appropriate measures. Authorities can incorporate quarantine facilities at the airports to scrutinize individuals arriving from affected countries. At the ground level, countries bordering the affected regions have set up cross-border isolation zones to limit free movement. The measures taken up indicate the high threat level embraced by the authorities. Today’s interconnected world presents a perfect opportunity for diseases to spread at a faster rate. However, it is important to focus on the likelihood of a person being infected rather than travel patterns (Ebola 2014, 2014).

The threat level in the United States

The preparedness of the country to the spread of Ebola is very important in containing or preventing the spread of the disease. The first Ebola case in the United States indicated some shortcomings of the government in protecting the country from an outbreak. Since that incident, the government has stepped up its initiatives of fighting the disease. Upon diagnosis of the patient with Ebola in Texas, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that there could be more people infected with the Ebola virus. Following this revelation, the government imposed stricter screening methods and rallying the hospitals to increase their preparedness of the disease. The extensive measures taken by the concerned authorities is a clear indication of a high threat level of this epidemic (Fabregas, 2014).

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Medical Treatment Methods

Currently, there is no available vaccine or medicine that can be used in the treatment of Ebola virus. However, medical practitioners are using containment methods whereby they treat the symptoms as they occur. It is important for infected individuals to visit a medical facility in the early stages of the infection. Some of the medical interventions used to boost the chances of survival of a patient include administering intravenous fluids, giving the patient oxygen, and monitoring the occurrence of other infections that may arise during this period (Ebola Fast Facts, 2014).

Medical researchers are constantly working to develop vaccines and treatments for Ebola. However, the experimental drugs are not yet safe for human trials. The quality of health care services determines the recovery of Ebola patients. Recovery also depends on an individual’s immune system. Patients who recover from the disease develop immunity against the virus, which may last for a decade. In addition, individuals who have recovered from Ebola at times develop secondary complications such as visual impairment. Patients infected by the virus are usually put in isolation to administer proper care and to prevent interaction with other individuals.

The first medical procedure aims to maintain a patient’s blood oxygen level and pressure. In the early stages, it is difficult to diagnose a patient for Ebola based on early symptoms; hence, it is essential for the patient to be kept in isolation for a sufficient amount of time (Katz, Wild, Elmore & Lucan, 2013).

Public Health Preventive Measures

The CDC and WHO in conjunction with other international health agencies have put up extensive measures of containing the spread of Ebola. Most of the suggestions put forth are self-governing, which requires individuals all over the world to be vigilant about threats posed by the illness. Health organizations around the world are working together as a means of providing technical assistance to curb this epidemic. Citizens in the United States are directed to avoid unnecessary travels to the West Africa countries. Travelers arriving from these countries are instructed to monitor the occurrence of any symptoms in a three-week period upon their arrival. Guidance is also offered to doctors in relation to infection, control, prevention, and diagnosis of Ebola virus (Ebola Fast Facts, 2014).

Moreover, the CDC is also working in conjunction with airlines whereby they offer technical advice about the illness. For instance, the CDC has set up screening facilities at the airports, which is used to monitor patients from affected countries. Health care workers are also issued with infection control guidance as an act of training medical personnel. It is important for the public to work hand-in-hand with medical institutions in the fight against the Ebola virus.

References

Ebola 2014: A Rapid Threat Assessment. (2014). Web.

Ebola Fast Facts. (2014). Web.

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Fabregas, L. (2014). Ebola threat in U.S., and we’re not prepared to contain it, experts warn. Web.

Katz, D. L., Wild, D., Elmore, J. G., & Lucan, S. C. (2013). Jekel’s Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Preventive Medicine. Amsterdam: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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