News — 01 December 2014
Good news about containing Ebola

The Ebola epidemic that has ravaged some parts of West Africa appears to be under control in some of those nations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the outbreak in Nigeria is officially over, as that the country has gone the required 42 days since the last new case was isolated. They have also classified the country of Senegal as “free of Ebola virus transmission.”

Nigeria’s success at stopping the outbreak was due to a rapid response by health authorities when a Liberian man infected with the virus flew to Lagos for a meeting. He was visibly ill before boarding the plane, collapsed on arrival, and died a few days later. In that short time he had infected several of the people who met him at the airport as well as nine health care workers. All of them were immediately quarantined and eventually recovered after treatment.

Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids, and this can even include droplets of water that are released when coughing or sneezing. There is no vaccine or antiviral drug that is directly effective against Ebola, but when treated quickly it can be cured. Maintaining fluid balance in the body and treating other infections as they occur helps the patient to develop antibodies that fight the virus. If their immune system is strong they will defeat the virus and acquire immunity to that strain of Ebola. There has also been success by giving the patient a transfusion of the blood from other people who have survived the virus. This blood already contains the antibodies, and it can help the second patient to produce their own antibodies.

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