By William Tucker
Chief Correspondent for In Homeland Security
The World Health Organization is deeply concerned now that the four month long Ebola outbreak in Guinea has spread to two neighboring countries and is showing no signs of slowing. Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever without a cure and is typically transmitted by contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal.
Thus far there have been 635 reported cases of Ebola since the start of the year, but only 385 have been confirmed. The geographic region in which this outbreak is most prevalent spans three countries and has relatively open borders making the outbreak difficult to quarantine. Also of concern is where the outbreak has occurred.
Currently, Ebola cases have been primarily located in the Guekedou region of southern Guinea which happens to be the source for the Niger River. The likelihood of the outbreak spreading among the peoples who live along the banks of the river is quite high. Further compounding the response from WHO and private organizations such as Doctors Without Borders is a belief amongst some locals that Ebola simply doesn’t exist.
People working the outbreak on the ground have reported making some inroads into educating the locals, but the area they need to cover is large and resources are limited.
The BBC lists some of the symptoms of Ebola as:
• high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
• Fatality rate can reach 90%
• Incubation period is two to 21 days
• There is no vaccine or cure
• Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhea and vomiting can help recovery
• Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus