Friday, October 17, 2014


   An agency I just donated to is Doctors Without Borders. They're having quite the battle with bringing the Ebola epidemic under control in west Africa. There just isn't the facilities available to take care of the many sick patients. One of those who is ill is sent home again and is then infecting others. It's a terrible situation.
   I've been doing a lot of research on it lately. The disease first appeared in 1976 in Sudan. There were two outbreaks one of which was at a mission clinic run by Nuns. They didn't have a good supply of needles so they were reusing them which spread the disease among all of the patients. Since then it's cropped up now and then in different places but it's usually low numbers which have been fairly easily contained. 
   It's also a disease that mostly affects the poor. Because there's little profit to be made from a drug that would be primarily used by poor people none of the drug companies has bothered to make a vaccine previously though I guess there's now one in the works. They found four survivors of a previous outbreak and now they've isolated the antigens in their blood which they are in turn are testing on Ebola cultures. We could very well soon have a immunization for the virus which I would recommend getting once available.
   For this particular outbreak patient zero was a little boy who contracted an especially virulent strain of the virus in November 2012 in Guinea. They aren't quite sure where he got it though it's suspected he ate a bat which is common in that part of the world. When you're starving and you're extremely poor the wildlife is getting hunted. He died after having spread to the rest of his family who also died. It's a country where there had never been an outbreak of the disease. 14 months later they finally found out what they were dealing with and by then it was too late. They had a full fledged epidemic on their hands. From that country at least two other carriers brought it to Nigeria and Liberia which is what spread the contagion further.

   How they're trying to deal with it is build some more clinics. They are desperately needed and there would be more of an ability to quarantine those who are ill. There's also a need for bleach, lots of bleach which kills the virus. Just maybe they can start bringing it under control.
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