Grim Predictions in the Ebola Virus Outbreak

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the Ebola virus could infect well over 1 million people by January 2015. Officially the report claims that the number of infected could be between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January. So far, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) numbers, over 5,800 people have been infected by the virus in West Africa. In their statement the CDC claims that these numbers could be severely underreported and the actual number of infected could be close to 2.5 times more than the 5,800 people reported.

Recently President Obama sent over 3,000 troops and severely needed medical equipment to help stop the spread of the virus in West Africa. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently donated 50 million dollars in aid to the affected African nations. This much needed response along with that of “Doctors Without Borders” could help turn the tide of Ebola infection. However despite these efforts, experts on the ground say that it is going to take a massive international effort to get this outbreak under control.

Sweat, blood and saliva can transmit the deadly virus from one individual to another, making the process of containment extremely difficult. While listening to NPR about a week ago, I heard a report from a correspondent in Liberia saying that taxi cab drivers were transporting sick patients from their homes to the nearest hospital, sometimes more than three hours away, only to be rejected care. A lack of medical staff and equipment has compounded the effects of the virus, as sick patients are not able to get proper medical attention. Moreover, a lack of medical transport vehicles has led to the rampant infection of taxi drivers and passengers, due to poor sanitation procedures.

Experimental treatments have been underway in the U.S. and around the globe to stop the spread of this virus but no single vaccine has been verified. However, according to a report by the WHO, using the blood of Ebola virus victims who survived the disease could be a viable treatment for new patients. Once a person develops the proper antibodies to fight off the virus, they can donate those antibodies to people fighting the virus. Doctors who treated the two American’s that survived the virus said that the most crucial treatment right now is making sure that the patients are hydrated and replenishing vital electrolytes.

As you may or may not already know, one of the most pressing issues in stopping the spread of this virus has been the protection of medical staff who are treating the patients. After doing research on several organizations that are mobilizing to help put an end to this outbreak, I found directrelief.org. If you are looking to help and do your part in the fight against Ebola, donating to this organization may be a good start. I will continue praying for the people of West Africa and hope that awareness of this issue helps to end this outbreak. I’ll leave you with a sobering video below by the New York Times on the current situation in Liberia. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day.

Ps: For those of you interested in learning more about Liberia (the worst hit African nation by the Ebola outbreak) feel free to watch the video by Vice News shown on my post from a few months ago titled “Cannibal Warlord General Butt Naked”. It won’t take long before you realize that the country has virtually no sanitation, public service or rule of law. It’s something to think about when considering that this country is the hardest hit by the Ebola virus.

sources

cdc.gov

who.int

 

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Largest Outbreak of Ebola Virus in History

CDC map of affected African Countries

CDC map of affected African Countries


The African continent is once again dealing with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, though this time the virus is spreading much faster than in previous years. According to the CDC, as of August 1st, there are 1603 cases of the virus. So far the countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have confirmed cases. 887 people have already died from the virus, which unfortunately has no known vaccine. Studies currently suggest that the virus is first contracted by bats and then transmitted to humans, though the actual process by which the virus infects humans is unknown.

Experts say that the virus has spread at such a rapid rate in part due to the poor conditions found in West Africa. Guinea, which was the first location of the outbreak, is one of several West African nations that is poorly equipped to deal with the virus from a healthcare point of view. A lack of facilities to treat the virus coupled with insufficient healthcare resources has led to the spread of Ebola in the region. Experimental vaccines are supposedly being tested on two U.S. citizens who contracted the virus while treating infected patients in Africa.

Symptoms of the Ebola virus can be high fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, liver damage, internal bleeding, external bleeding and skin rashes. The images that I saw when researching this virus were so horrific that I chose not to add any to my post. My heart goes out to those who are suffering from this virus. All that I could do is pray that a vaccine is found shortly and that the virus ceases to spread any further. If there is any progress with this situation I’ll make sure to do a follow-up post on this. Thanks for stopping by everyone.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/

Health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Lagos airport. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Lagos airport. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Cannibal Warlord, General “Butt Naked”

Do you remember the last time that you ate a child’s heart so that you could be invincible in battle? Can’t recall ever doing so? Well take a look at this documentary that I found on youtube.com. The documentary was produced by Vice News, a news agency that does in depth reporting across the globe. In this documentary Shane Smith, Vice News co-founder and field correspondent, travels to the west African nation of Liberia to investigate the so called Cannibal Warlords that live there. Let me warn you that the documentary has some strong content.

After exploring several parts of Liberia, Shane Smith lands a shady interview with former General “Butt Naked.” The general, who gave himself the name “Butt Naked”, explains the origin of his name to Shane. He tells the reporter that he chose this name because of his combat strategy during Liberia’s civil war. A strategy in which he would instruct his rebel soldiers to strip down completely before battle. Once fully nude, he would have his soldiers bring an innocent child to him for ritualistic purposes. He would then cut the child’s heart out of his/her chest, while still alive, and have each of his soldiers consume a piece of it. General “Butt Naked” explained to his soldiers that this sacrifice would bring them magical powers in combat and make them invincible. Only then would the General and his soldiers go into battle, while still completely nude I should add. This ritual of sacrifice was repeated before every single battle, thus causing the needless slaughter of hundreds of innocent children during the war.

Today General “Butt Naked” spends his days preaching to his community. He converted to Christianity after the war and now preaches at churches around Liberia about his struggle with his violent past. Former victims of his cannibal rituals say that he converted to Christianity only to avoid punishment for his war crimes. So the former general’s life is now in constant danger of attack from people affected by his military past. According to him these are false accusations. He says that the reason he converted to Christianity was so that he could be a better person and more importantly a better father to his young daughter. Though he takes the full blame for his actions, he recognizes that if his parents would have raised him instead of abandon him, then he might be a different man today. That thought is what motivates him to be a better father and a better person with the help of Christianity.

I tried to put myself in his shoes and imagine what life must have been like for him in Liberia. I wonder what kind of trauma he experienced before deciding that killing children and eating their hearts was the right thing to do. Maybe he’s just a psychopath with no remorse, incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. However it seems odd to me that a person who is incapable of knowing right from wrong would choose to devote the rest of his life to Christianity seeking forgiveness for his sins. The question of whether or not this man should be executed for his crimes remains a mixed issue. Does punishing a person’s ignorance with death solve the issue of ignorance? Does not punishing this man solve the issue of ignorance? I’m not sure what the solution is, if there even is a solution, but what I do know is that this country and its people are completely foreign to me. I will pray for them and hope that change comes sooner than later…

I would love to hear from someone living in Liberia. If you are from there or have family that lives there, please reply to this blog post. I want to hear your story and know what it is like for you as a citizen of Liberia. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Post Sources

cia.gov

youtube.com

Liberia in Africa Liberia with neighbors

Source (Picture 1)                                                                              Source (Picture 2)

 

 

15 Quick Facts about Liberia

Official Language: English (Though only 20% of the population exclusively speaks English)

President: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, since 2006 (She was reelected in 2011 with 90.7% of the total vote in her favor)

Religion: 85.6% Christian, 12.2% Muslim

Total Population: 4,092,310

Capital: Monrovia

Median Age of Population: 18 years old (U.S. median age: 37 years old)

Sanitation Facility Access: 18.2% of the total population (81.8% with no access to restrooms or sewage infrastructure)

Health Expenditures: 19.5% of GDP

Physician Density: 0.01 Physicians/1000 people (Whatever you do don’t get sick in Liberia)

Education Expenditures: 2.8% of GDP

Total GDP: $2.89 Billion U.S. Dollars (Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth: $26.6 Billion U.S. Dollars)

Average Annual Income (Per Person): $700.00 U.S. Dollars (Qatar’s average is the highest at: $102,100 U.S. Dollars)

Privately Owned T.V. Stations: 3

Total Internet Users: 20,000 people (That’s less than 1% of the entire population)

Transnational Issues: Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Civil Unrest, Refugee Disputes with Neighboring Countries