Ebola disease, an infectious and generally fatal viral disease has caught the attention of the whole world.
The current outbreak in the West African countries has been described as the worst in the history of the disease. The Ebola disease is characterized by fever and severe internal bleeding.
Ebola disease is transmitted through contact with infected blood and body fluids (urine, feces, saliva, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola virus disease.
Incubation period from time of infection to symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Transmission through air or water is not known. The normal host species for the Ebola virus is unknown.
The History of Ebola Disease
The first outbreak of Ebola was reported in 1976 in Zaire (currently Democratic Republic of Congo), near the Ebola River, where it killed 280 people. Around the same time, another outbreak was reported in Sudan in which 151 people died. Since then other major or minor sporadic outbreaks have been reported in Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries such as Uganda and Gabon.
Current Ebola Disease Outbreak
The current Ebola disease outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013. Scientists working on the disease speculate that the current outbreak began with one boy in Guinea who became infected by some animal. Before he died, he spread the Ebola virus to others.
The disease has spread to Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Described by experts as the worst outbreak since the first epidemic struck humans nearly 40 years ago, the current outbreak has killed far more people than in other years. As of September 16, more than 5000 people had been infected, of which over 2,500 had lost their lives.
Social Economic Impact of Ebola Disease
The current Ebola disease outbreak in West Africa has had significant negative social economic consequences not only to the affected countries but other countries as well.
For example, in an effort to contain the disease, many regional and international airlines have cancelled flights to and from the affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Prices of staple goods are said to be going up, and food supplies are running low thus worsening the situation.