9 Scariest Facts About The Ebola Crisis
Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known to mankind, and for good reason. Throughout the past year, an outbreak of Ebola has ravaged Africa, with thousands of cases being reported and thousands more dying. Discover why ebola is such a terrifying disease with these mind-blowing facts:
1. It is Spreading Fast. Very Fast.
According to CDC estimates, Ebola cases are doubling every 15 days in Liberia, the heart of the outbreak, and every 30 days in Sierra Leone. The first cases were reported in March 2014. By the end of August, over 3,600 cases were reported. If the spread of the virus continues in the same trend, we should see almost 8,000 reported cases by today.
What is even scarier is that estimates calculate that over 70% of cases are unreported- that means over 21,000 cases will have been reported by the end of today.
The number of Ebola cases by Jan. 20, 2015 is expected to reach a horrific 1.4 million if nothing is done to stop the spread of the virus. The exponential propagation of Ebola is truly scary.
2. It Has Horrifying Symptoms- But You Can’t Tell If You Have It
According to the National Institute of Health, Ebola symptoms start out similar to a normal flu, and occur within a few days- they include joint pain, fever, diarrhea, headache, nausea and sore throat. Any person with these symptoms may just believe they have a normal flu; after all, flu season is coming up around the corner.
However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms become much, much worse. By the time that a victim realizes that they don’t just have a common flu, it may be too late. They will begin to bleed from every orifice- their mouth, eyes, ears, nose, rectum and even internally. Hemorrhagic rashes will start to occur over the entire body. Painful, swollen organs and inflamed skin start to occur. Ultimately, vital organs will deteriorate as the victim simply bleeds out in a horrifying death. The bodily fluids that the victim secretes leave anyone around them vulnerable to the same fate.
3. Up To 90% of Victims Will Die
Ebola has one of the highest death rates of any known disease. Between 50 to 90% of all cases will arise in death. As of now, the average death rate has hovered around 70%- a terrifying percentage that dwarfs more common diseases. For reference, brain cancer has a lower mortality rate at 66%. That’s how dangerous Ebola is. That’s right. You’re more likely to survive brain cancer than this virus.
4. There is Not Nearly Enough Health Personnel To Combat The Virus
According to the WHO, we need more than twenty times more health personnel to help quell the spread of the epidemic. There is currently not nearly enough healthcare workers to provide care and help isolate the disease. In fact, more than half (54%) of health care workers have died after becoming infected with the virus, despite them being well-informed and having access to hospitals and treatment.
5. It Preys On Care and Love
Because Ebola is transmitted easily through contact with bodily fluids, it essentially is preying upon the most basic of human nature: love and care for other beings. Imagine that you, as a five-year-old child, contract Ebola, and your parents are unable to come into close contact with you lest they contract the virus themselves. The very nature of the virus forces humans to combat the disease by destroying a part of their own nature- their connection to other human beings. The sinister nature of Ebola- the fact that it is spread through sweat, tears, saliva, blood, amongst other fluids- makes it all the more deadly.
6. The Virus May Mutate Into Something Even More Dangerous
Many prominent figures at the CDC and the WHO have expressed concern that the virus may mutate into something even more dangerous, if that is even possible. The virus goes through millions of generations with each infection, and each time it replicates, there is a chance of genetic mutation that would allow it to become airborne. If this happens, the spread of the virus will grow even faster, and also cross country borders more easily. We would easily see millions of cases occur within months, if not weeks. Just imagine that the common cold became so deadly that you would have a mere 10% chance of survival if you contracted it.
7. There Is No Cure
As if the death rate and method of transmission weren’t enough, we currently have no cure for the virus. Although some vaccines are in development, none have passed trials with the FDA, nor are there any official methods of prevention. Since there is no treatment, the best we can do for patients is “supported therapy”, which basically involves balancing fluids and electrolytes, as well as blood pressure and oxygen. In other words, you can’t do much besides giving someone some chicken soup and telling them to sleep it off.
8. There is Not One, But Five Different Strains of Ebola
The Ebola Virus is a type of RNA virus known as Filoviridae- and there are not one, but five known strains, four of which can infect and cause disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast, and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The strains are named after where they first originated. A fifth type, Ebola Reston, is able to cause disease in primates, but has not affected humans… yet. Four strains of Ebola means that a cure for one will not necessarily cure the other strains, making the disease that much harder to contain.
Ever since horror movies and horror lore were invented, one animal has been the poster child of the entire genre- bats. The flying, diseased, rodents have provided inspiration for blood-sucking vampires and are symbolic for everything that creeps and crawls in the night- and now, they are known to be the carriers of this horrific disease. Bats were known to reside in the cotton factory in which the first cases for the 1976 and 1979 Ebola outbreaks were discovered. Unlike other animals such as monkeys, bats seem to be one of the only immune carriers- so if you’re wandering around Africa and are bitten by a bat, you should probably run to the nearest hospital.
9. It Is Near You Now
As of Tuesday, the CDC has now identified the first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. The virus that has ravaged parts of Africa has now been identified in Dallas, Texas. The patient is being placed in strict isolation due to his symptoms and travel history. Sources say that the patient had recently traveled from Liberia, one of the countries in Africa hardest-hit by the deadly virus.
The victim had returned to the US on September 20th after traveling through Liberia, but did not display symptoms until a few days ago, after which he sought care in the Dallas hospital.
Whether or not you have been paying attention to outbreak news, now is the time to carefully prepare yourself for the epidemic that has been spreading like wildfire in the past few months. What do you think? Should we be scared?