Ebola Spreads in Africa—and Likely Will Spread Beyond

The Ebola virus has killed a Liberian doctor and infected two Americans in the worst-ever Ebola epidemic, which has now spread to Nigeria.

Karen Weintraub
National Geographic

…Public health experts say they expect the virus to reach other parts of the world, including the United States, though it’s unlikely to spread widely in regions with well-funded hospitals and standard infection-control procedures. (Related “Why Is This Ebola Outbreak Spreading?“)

National Geographic recently talked with W. Ian Lipkin, an expert in viral diseases and the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, about why this outbreak is so much more widespread than previous ones…

…What does the Ebola virus do to the body?

It’s a hemorrhagic fever virus. It causes an intensive inflammatory response. You wind up going into shock. You can’t maintain your blood pressure. Ultimately, all your organs fail.

How long does it take to get sick once you’re infected?

You may not show signs of disease for up to three weeks, but most people begin to show signs roughly a week after infection. Death comes within a few days to another week.

Is it possible to treat Ebola, to survive infection?

It’s typically a lethal infection [with up to a 90 percent fatality rate]. People can recover, but it’s not common. There are no treatments. The only thing we can do is try to maintain people’s blood volumes by giving them fluids…



Read the entire article at National Geographic.


Related: In a Powerful Sermon, the American Doctor Infected with Ebola Explains Why He Was Called to Serve in Africa



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