At least 5 people confirmed dead from the new Ebola virus outbreak in Africa. Will Ebola soon become the next global pandemic?
Just when you think the coronavirus pandemic is behind us, a new Ebola virus outbreak just broke out in Africa with at least 5 people confirmed dead, the first cases since 2016. So, is the world prepared for another pandemic and should we be concerned?
The ongoing coronavirus is deadly, but it’s nothing compared to the deadly Ebola virus. Unlike coronavirus with a mortality rate of less than 1%, Ebola has a high mortality rate of about 50% (although that rate has ranged from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks).
According to the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa and the Ministry of Health of Guinea, as of February 15, seven cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in Guinea, including three deaths. Two people were also confirmed dead in Congo. One nurse said, “I don’t know what this curse is hitting the Guineans, all the pandemics are falling on us.”
On 7 February 2021, the Congolese health ministry reported a new case of the Ebola virus. The reported case was that of a 42-year old woman who had symptoms of Ebola in Biena on 1 February 2021. A few days after, the woman was later reported dead in a hospital. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that more than 70 people with contact with the woman had been tracked. So far, 4 cases, two deaths, and 200 contacts were reported as of 15 February 2021,
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with an ebolavirus. Four species of the virus can cause disease in humans. It was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Without any treatment, 70-90% of people infected with Zaire, ebolavirus will die.
Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, assistant professor of medicine for infectious diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina, who was the medical director of an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone during the previous outbreak, is very concerned about the new outbreak saying: “The resurgence of Ebola is very concerning for what it could do for the people, the economy, the health infrastructure.”
Another outbreak of the Ebola virus was also reported in Guinea. According to Dr Sakoba Keita, the head of Guinea’s national health agency, 3 people were confirmed died of Ebola in the south-eastern region near the city of Nzérékoré. A further 5 people also tested positive. Dr. Keita also confirmed more testing was underway and attempts to trace and isolate further cases had begun. The Guinean government later declared an Ebola epidemic on 14 February.