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Ending Ebola

What Needs to be Done?

We are deeply inspired every day by the efforts of humanitarian organizations around the world. We’re motivated each time we see a successful humanitarian project in the field of global health, which proves to be full of challenges such as the prevention and treatment of Ebola.

Ending Ebola

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the single largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered back in 1976 by Peter Piot, a 27-year-old Belgian scientist. The first outbreaks took place in 1976 in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But there have been more cases and deaths in the current outbreak than all others combined. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are among the most severely affected countries. These countries have underdeveloped health systems, human and infrastructural resources. These factors coupled with the fact that these countries have just emerged from long periods of conflict and instability caused the virus to spread at a rapid pace affecting an enormous population.

The Ebola virus causes an acute, severe illness which is often fatal if untreated. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

Prevention and control
The WHO declared the end of Ebola transmission in Guinea on 29 December 2015, in Liberia on 14 January 2016, and in Sierra Leone on 17 March 2016. Community engagement played a key role for successfully controlling the outbreak in these countries. Raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures that individuals can take is an effective way to reduce human transmission. As a result, the original outbreak of Ebola virus disease that begun in West Africa in December 2013, mainly affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has now ended, but the risk of sporadic cases (flare-ups) remain.

A range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies, and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. Two potential vaccines are undergoing human safety testing. A spectacular breakthrough in ending Ebola may occur when these vaccines prove to be effective in humans. In the meantime, supportive care-rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids- and treatment of specific symptoms improves survival of Ebola victims.

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