By Dorothy H. Crawford
First chanced on in 1976, and lengthy considered as an simply plausible virus affecting remoted rural groups, Ebola rocketed to global prominence in 2014 as a dangerous epidemic swept via Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia in West Africa. hundreds of thousands of individuals died because the terribly contagious disorder unfold quickly from villages to city centres. preliminary quarantine responses proved usually too little and too overdue, and the scientific infrastructure of the affected nations struggled to manage. via August 2014, a number of months after the beginning of the outbreak, the WHO declared the epidemic a public overall healthiness emergency and overseas relief groups and volunteers started to pour in. yet halting the epidemic proved to be highly difficult, not just when it comes to the practicalities of facing the sheer numbers of sufferers sporting the hugely infectious virus, yet in facing social and cultural boundaries. the writer, Dorothy Crawford, visited Sierra Leone whereas the epidemic used to be ongoing and met with these at the frontline within the struggle opposed to the virus.-- Read more...
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So before turning in for the night, as a precaution, they fumigated a mission school classroom and mopped the floor with bleach before sleeping on the bare boards. They had just three or four days before returning to Kinshasa and their brief was clear. They had to identify and take blood samples from Yambuku fever sufferers, and from anyone who had recovered, for virus testing. Also, they were to assess the extent of the outbreak and determine how active it remained. To work out how the virus was transmitted, where it came from, and the length of the incubation period they had to ask innumerable questions about sufferers’ everyday lives.
Back in October 1976 as the others set off for Zaire, CDC officials sent Heymann to Dallas, Texas. Here he collected a mobile isolation unit belonging to NASA and transported it back to the Air Force base in Atlanta. The 1960s and ’70s was the era of moon exploration and the space race, and with astronauts regularly returning from the moon’s alien environment, the American pub lic had concerns about an invasion of moon bugs. So each time US astronauts splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean they were immedi ately transferred from the space capsule to this isolator, complete with filters to trap any extraterrestrial microbes!
However, they did ascer tain that truckloads of people regularly travelled between southwest Sudan and Bumba, a journey of around four days. This suggested that someone incubating the virus could have reached Yambuku before falling ill, but in the end they were unable to firmly establish the origin of the outbreak in Yambuku. They thought that the most likely explanation was that the virus was brought from southern Sudan to Yambuku by a person rather than being intro duced directly into the Yambuku population from an unknown animal host.