Ebola Outbreak

07/07/2014

 
Ebola, a viral illness transmitted through contact with body fluids of infected individuals, causes a hemorrhagic fever.  After an incubation period lasting from a few days for up to 3 weeks, an infected individual develops malaise and fever in addition to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Eventually profuse bleeding occurs, causing its victim to perish.  The reported fatality rate is 90%.

Since February, this virus has spread over three countries in western Africa and at the time of this writing has claimed the lives of over 400 people.  Currently, a U.S. citizen is being tested for the virus and has been placed in quarantine in Ghana after travelling through two of the affected countries.  

For more information: BBC - Ebola Outbreak

This outbreak is not contained and will likely spread before we see it brought under control.  To get a sense of what may be at stake here, read The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston.  It details an incident that occurred in 1989 where a similar outbreak almost occurred in the U.S.