Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

End of Ebola in Africa?

At 14 January of 2016 the WHO (World Health Organization) declared the end of the Ebola virus disease that punched Africa, taking with it millions of African lives. But, is this the end of the Ebola virus in Africa? The WHO insists in the fact that there is no chain of transmission now, at least in West-Africa, but they also warn about the possibility of the appearance of new flare-ups. Many countries were declared free of having the virus, for example Liberia, but this country has had two more outbreaks. Anyway, today there is no infected patient in the most likely countries to have the virus but Dr Alex Gasasira (2016); a WHO representative in Liberia says that “The rapid cessation of the flare-up is a concrete demonstration of the government’s strengthened capacity to manage disease outbreaks. WHO will continue to support Liberia in its effort to prevent, detect and respond to suspected cases.”

The 3 countries in which the disease was more likely to appear are now at zero; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leona have spent 42 days (the virus incubation lengths 21 days) without a case; Sierra Leona was declared free of Ebola on November the seventh, and Guinea was declared free of the virus on December the twenty-ninth.

The disease outbreak started on the 23 of March 2014, being the largest Ebola outbreak in history, the same day 49 cases and 29 deaths were confirmed, months after that the number of deaths was over 10.000. As Tribuna Valladolid (2016) explains: “Since the outbreak started, 28.604 cases and 11.3000 deaths were confirmed, all divided in the three main countries which were the center of the disease: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leona” The origin of the outbreak seemed to be located in a small village called Meliandou in Guinea. This disease has caused infections not only in the African continent, but also in Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America as an example, other countries like Italy were also affected. These cases out of the African continent only left one dead between the 7 infections that were confirmed, this death took place in the USA.

Returning to the present, it is important to keep on maintaining and watching the three African countries, due to the high risk of new outbreaks, like the most recent one which took place on Liberia. The evidences clearly show how the virus disappears quickly from the survivors, but it can remain in the semen of the male survivor for 1 year approximately with the risk of infecting it to intimate partners. As Dr Bruce Aylward (2016) explains: “We are now at a critical period in the Ebola epidemic as we move from managing cases and patients to managing the residual risk of new infections, the risk of re-introduction of infection is diminishing as the virus gradually clears from the survivor population, but we still anticipate more flare-ups and must be prepared for them. A massive effort is underway to ensure robust prevention, surveillance and response capacity across all three countries by the end of March.”

One of the countries that are contributing directly with the eradication of the virus in Africa is Russia. In the last days, Russia has managed to create a vaccine against the Ebola virus and, in addition, Russia announced that is ready to produce at least 10.000 doses of a new vaccine against the virus. Russia wants to start in March a campaign of vaccination in Guinea, one of the most affected countries in West-Africa. The Russian minister of health service, Veronika Skvortsova, has announced that they have achieved to create two different vaccines, one against the Ebola virus, and another one for those who suffer from AIDS. President Putin (2016) was the one chosen to inform people about the new advantages of the vaccine; “We have good news. We´ve register a medication against Ebola, which have proved in the corresponding tests a great efficacy, greater than the compounds used in the current world”

Russia started to work on a new vaccine after the announcement of a new outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, on 2014. Since that day, experts in epidemic fields moved to Guinea in order to find a cure to it. They worked in a camp of Kamaz trucks. The international medical community also has a vaccine that has passed the first phase of clinical trials and can be offered to people at risk of contracting Ebola virus. However it does not have the necessary authorizations and it can be only used in specific trials or cases.

World Health Organization members are today working with the governments of the three countries which are in higher risk, in order to help survivors with medical care, trying to reduce the risk of Ebola virus transmission.

Ebola left 28.500 people infected a number of 11.300 deaths. It has been one of the worst diseases of the last years and that is the reason why we must keep an eye on those countries which have more risk of outbreaks.

References:

  1. World Health Organization (2016, January 14)  Latest Ebola outbreak over in Liberia; West Africa is at zero, but new flare-ups are likely to occur. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/ebola-zero-liberia/en/
  2. Tribuna Valladolid (2016, January 17) La OMS da por concluido el brote de ébola en África pero teme rebrotes. http://www.tribunavalladolid.com/noticias/la-oms-da-por-concluido-el-brote-de-ebola-en-africa-pero-teme-rebrotes/1452796548
  3. Rozin, Í (2016, January 14) Rusia lidera la lucha contra el ébola en África.http://es.rbth.com/technologias/ciencia/2016/01/14/rusia-lidera-la-lucha-contra-el-ebola-en-africa_559377
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