Ebola Epidemic Underestimated: WHO

By Oliver Ngwenya    17-Aug-2014 14:58 UTC+02:00

The World Health Organisation has said that the Ebola crisis is vastly underestimated as the death toll from the virus soars to beyond one thousand. According to the World Health Organisation, its workers that are on the ground have reported that the numbers of deaths from the disease, which has neither a cure nor a vaccine, are so much more than the recorded deaths. It added in a statement that extra-ordinary measures were needed if this health crisis could be brought under control and eventually exterminated.

Ebola is a disease that is caused by a virus which starts off with symptoms that are similar to those of flue-like fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headache,s which deteriorate to nausea and diarrhea. The patient then progresses to a stage where they bleed both internally and externally. This eventually leads to the collapse of the main body organs like the liver and kidneys, which eventually leads to the victim’s death. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood and other body fluids of an infected person or animals, particularly fruit bats and monkeys. The first recorded case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan around 1976. While there have been a number of outbreaks ever since, the current one appears to be the worst, having affected close to two thousand individuals across four countries, namely Guinea where it started in February 2014, Liberia, Sierra Leone and most recently Nigeria.

According to the World Health Organisation, the disease is expected to continue for some time. The statement added that the biggest challenge to bringing the disease under control was that the outbreak occurred in “settings characterised by extreme poverty, dysfunctional health systems, a severe shortage of doctors and rampant fear”. This leads to the proliferation of misinformation. This comes after two people were reported to have died in Nigeria after drinking a salt solution which is rumored to prevent Ebola infection. According to the BBC, many people were admitted to hospital in Nigeria after they drank and bathed in salt solution after smses were sent around the country as people advised each other about how to prevent the dreaded disease.

In South Africa, the information that there was an Ebola case was squashed by the Health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi when he informed the nation that the woman, incidentally pregnant, who had been suspected to be the victim, tested negative after rigorous tests. This had followed a statement by the main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, saying that there was a case of the EVD on South African soil.

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