The Ebola Virus is a serious illness which is fatal if untreated. Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nazra, Sudan and the other in Yambuka, Democratic Republic of Congo. The current outbreak in West Africa is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all other combined. The most severely affected countries are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It is said that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts.
Ebola was introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats and monkeys. Ebola then spreads through human to human transmission via direct contact, through broken skin or mucous, with blood secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in transmitting Ebola.
People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. It takes 2-21 days for the symptoms to show. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. Next is vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding from the gums. Some say there are no proven treatments available for Ebola.
However a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are being evaluated. No licensed vaccines are available yet, but 2 potential vaccines are undergoing human safety testing.
The fact that not most but all African Americans have died due to this virus and the few Caucasian that were infected by Ebola has survived does not surprise me. They were given a rare drug called ZMapp that supposedly saved their lives. That instantly set off loud protest and shouts of racism and indifference, and that American health and medical officials outright turn their back on Africans who are dying from this disease.
The wicked reality is there is no known cure for the virus once it is in your system. Stated earlier there is only ZMapp. The problem with this is that it’s still regarded an as experimental drug and is on the ground floor in use in the treatment of Ebola. The supplies of the drug globally are severely limited. The charge of racial double standard, though, can’t be separated from very real sleazy and criminal history of the huge indifference and even spiteful neglect of the health needs of African Americans.
There is the infamous Tuskegee experiment in which black males suffering from syphilis were intentionally allowed to suffer and die for four decades with the knowing consent of the U. S. Public Health Service without and treatment. There’s still widely racially disparate availability of health care and treatment between blacks and whites here. There is cause for suspicion that when a dreaded disease like Ebola strikes and the visible face of the victims are black then the racial double standard kicks in instantly. As much as I hate to admit it, there will be more cases of Ebola that turns up in the U.S.
People will be watching closely to see how they are going to be treated and whether the victims are black or white. We should all brace ourselves for a, messy, little oversights, panic, anxiety and finger pointing as more Ebola cases pop up. We should also be prepared for Ebola to distract us from other major issues going on in the world today. I wonder if anyone will make the time or have the direct to take note of the racial diverse that makes Ebola an even sadder, scarier case, for some of us and a further testament to how little we can still matter to such an advanced society.