Ebola virus and its Challenges in 2019

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A story had it that a man was seriously ill for weeks and all treatments seemed not to produce any effective results. After many trials and errors, the man and his wife went for an elaborate test, which eventually revealed the unexpected bad news. Afraid to break the shocking news to the man, the doctor called his wife aside and broke the news.

“God is wonderful. He has done it again for me.” The woman shouted, dancing.

Confused, the doctor had to repeat the result of the test to her, albeit to the hearing of her husband, who was looking anxiously but confused, waiting to know the outcome of the test.  

“Didn’t you hear what the doctor said, woman?” The visibly sad husband shouted at his wife angrily

“Thank God it is only Aids, not Ebola.” She responded happily.

While sympathizing with the man who was diagnosed with Aids, the reaction of his wife shows clearly how dangerous and deadly Ebola is and people’s attitude towards it. Presently, Aids is no more considered as deadly as before. With the latest drugs against Aids, infected persons can live longer and a normal life. On the other hand, Ebola has taken over as one of the world’s most dangerous diseases today. First discovered in 1976, although it is believed to have been in existence since 10,000 years ago, Ebola is an infectious viral disease that affects both humans and nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees, monkeys, and gorillas. It has become the most terrifying epidemic of the last years, responsible for 11,300 and 28,000 infected victims. ) people. Of the five species of Ebola virus, it is believed that four types, mostly found around Zaire, Bundibugyo, Taï and Sudan are not only the most deadly, but they equally caused the most outbreaks. Cases of such an outbreak were in West Africa countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

What makes Ebola worrisome as we struggle with the virus in 2019, is the fact that the affected regions lack quality health systems to combat the outbreak. With the affected areas in economic malaise due to blatant corruption, mismanagement, coupled with instability, the prospect of combating an Ebola outbreak in Africa can be challenging. The latest outbreak of Ebola in the conflict-torn North Kivu, in the North-Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, shows how dangerous and deadly the virus can easily spread – and how helpless the health workers can be as well. With more than 574 cases recorded and 347 deaths reported, the future is not promising. Worse still, the conflict in DRC makes it a big threat and unsafe for aid workers to tackle the virus. Not even the presence of the UNO peacekeepers in North Kivu (DRC) for nearly two decades, offers much help or hope in the efforts to tackle the spread of the deadly virus. Apart from little effort from the government in DRC to solve the Ebola challenges, some of the affected areas are simply too dangerous for even the most die-hard medical workers to venture into. Some infected people who have been diagnosed have fled the area due to war, making them more likely to die of the virus. Furthermore, other uninfected people are not only exposed to the virus, but the whole country and other non-indigenes, who may have visited the affected area or had contact with infected people will also most likely spread the virus to other parts of the world.

 What is frightening is that the outbreak of Ebola in highly populated areas comes with not only health challenges, it is easy to infect many and claim many innocent lives. As of 2018, it became apparent that Ebola is rapidly spreading to both Butembo and Goma both in the DRC. What is scary is that while Butembo has a population of a million people; Goma, on the other hand, is a major transportation city for other East Africa countries. We all know the implications.

But what about other parts of the world? Ebola is transmitted from human to human through direct contact. The virus can be transmitted when bodily fluids, like stool, saliva, sweat, semen of infected patients or bodies come in contact with mucous membranes of a non-infected person. Typical initial symptoms start 2 to 21 days after one is infected. Like other virus infections, fever, weakness and joint pain are typical of Ebola. Those signs are followed by other symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, vital organ failures and sometimes, both internal and external bleeding. However, despite this scary scenario and deadly outcome, Health experts think Ebola infection rates are considerably lower than for other diseases because the virus survives a bit more than 30 seconds outside a bodily fluid. Regardless, that is not a reason to be jubilant.

But apart from the concern about the spread of the virus in other cities, some health workers have questioned the availability of the much-needed vaccine to combat the outbreak of the virus. It is believed that Merck, the producer of the vaccine against the Ebola virus has just about 300,000 doses available. This calls the attention of the World Health Organisation to make sure enough vaccine doses are available and kept in stock in case of an unexpected outbreak.

Clearly, we need the collaboration and assistance of everyone to enable us to fight and defeat Ebola virus disease in the year 2019. Otherwise, it might be in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leona, Guinea today, tomorrow it could be next to your door.

More about this and many other articles, including a 10-page humorous cartoon story on the need to set out your goals and ambitions in life, titled “Useni Enters The Military,” read the latest Kata Kata Cartoon Magazine: