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Ebola Virus Outbreak with Absence of a Vaccine



Introduction

The first discovery of Ebola virus was made in the year 1976. The virus was then in two countries, Sudan and Zaire. In Sudan, 284 people got infected by the virus. The mortality rate then was over 53 percent. A few months later the Ebola-Zaire virus emerged in Yambuku. It was more virulent and had a higher mortality rate of 88 % with 318 people infected. Tremendous efforts were put in place by the researchers with the aim of identifying the virus’ natural reservoir but all was in vain. Ebola Ruston emerged in Ruston Virginia from the monkeys that were transported from the Philippines. It was the third strain of the virus, which has been discovered in the United States. The third strain saw people get seroconverted by the virus; however, they did not develop the hemorrhagic fever. Ebola cote d’ Ivore was discovered in 1994 (Li and Chen, 2013). It was an accident that occurred with an ethnologist who was performing a necropsy on a dead chimpanzee in Tai forest.

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The Ebola outbreak in 2014 is the largest one since it discovery in 1976. It became the first Ebola outbreak in West African countries. There are few cases reported in Nigerians Port Harcourt and Lagos. The cases in Nigeria have been associated with a man who had visited Liberia and died from Ebola in Lagos. However, the virus did not spread widely in Nigeria. In Senegal, there was a single case of Ebola. Infected was a man who traveled to Guinea.

As per September 18th, 2014, 5347 cases had been counted with about 2630 people who died from the disease. 3095 of the counted people got the confirmation that they had virus from the laboratory results. The current outbreak has been devastating in West Africa with a great amount of deaths reported across five West African countries (Gatherer, 2014).

Prevention and Treatment

At the moment tehere are no drugs, which could be approved by food and drug associations from all over the world as a vaccine from Ebola. There are no drugs neither to prevent the progression of the disease. Hence the only treatment for today is maintaining of the patience’s electrolyte balance and ensuring that the patient is well hydrated. To prevent spread of the virus, a number of behavioral practices have to be integrated for the people who are visiting the outbreak areas. The behavioral practices are: careful hygiene without any contact with body fluids of infected people, avoidance of handling items used on the affected people’s body fluids, avoidance of contacts with the dead body of an Ebola victim with bare hands. For the health care givers, it is mandatory to use personal protective equipment when handling these patients. To prevent the spread of the virus further, the health care provider should isolate the Ebola infected patients from other patients (Qiu and Kobinger, 2014).

There is no medicine or vaccine developed from the Ebola virus; therefore, the treatment, which is available today entails only alleviation of symptoms or reducing the severity. However, to improve chances for patient survival, the following measures are taken: balancing the body salts (electrolytes) and intravenous fluids. Maintenance of the oxygen status and pressure and treating of any other infections present in the body of the patients are also needed. The immune reactions of the patients determines their recovery. The patients who recover develop antibodies lasting up to ten years (Qiu and Kobinger, 2014).

Hypothesis: Increasing the level of literacy on the Ebola virus and the modes of transmission among the elderly and women will reduce the rate of new infections.

The hypothesis implies that people, who have more knowledge about the Ebola virus starting from the mode of transmission to the effect is has on the body, are at a less risk of getting the disease. Therefore, to test the viability of the hypothesis, a study has to be conducted to find out the level of literacy of the already affected people. This will be a qualitative study that will find out the level of knowledge among the inpatients. The obtained results should be compared with the hypothesis to find out whether increasing awareness among the specified people will deter the rate of new infections.

A questionnaire will be used to collect data. It is the preferred tool due to the fact that it is simpler and less tedious to use. The data collected should be analyzed at a later stage. Therefore the questionnaire makes the process easier and much faster since the interviewer does not have to keep writing notes on the respondent’s answers. The questionnaire will have a set of questions starting from the biodata to the knowledge of the disease. The research will be conducted among the already infected people so as to find out the category they fall under. Sampling should be random so as to have overall view of all the respondents.

Sixty patients were interviewed on using the questionnaire that was developed. From the sixty people interviewed, 42 percent were male, while 58 percent were female. The age of people suffering from Ebola increased as the number of people in those cohorts also increased. There is a direct proportionality in the number of infected people according to the age.

While conducting the questionnaire on the knowledge of the Ebola virus among the patiens, it was determined that there were more men with knowledge of the disease unlike women who were very few despite the fact that they took a large portion of those who were interviewed. Therefore, from the results attained, the hypothesis can be either rejected or reaffirmed. According to the information mentioned before the hypothesis can be stated as correct. The number of women in the hospitals is about 58 percent. Among those women in the hospital, a large percentage of them again, does not have any idea on what Ebola is. Therefore, ignorance of the disease is a major contributor to the large number of people being diagnosed with the disease.

Secondly, the number of the infected people increases with age. Hence the hypothesis is still reaffirmed, since the assumption is that the rate of infection increases with age. Therefore, to deter the number of people being diagnosed with Ebola, it is important first of all to educate people. The older people should be given more attention, the main reason for difference in attention is due to the fact that older people are more affected and at the same time the informed people are less affected.

Improving the Problem by the Health Science Professionals

Ebola outbreak is associated with poor precautions taken so as to prevent the transfer of the virus from one person to the other. The big step towards lowering the continued spread of the disease should be made by establishing the mode of transmission and blocking it. Luckily enough, the mode of transmission of the virus is well-understood. Therefore, it is easier to develop the modalities to deter the progression of the disease into uncontrollable extent. From the study, it is clear that the rate of the infection is much higher among the illiterate people infected with the virus.

Firstly, it is important for the health providers to have the knowledge of the virus. Therefore, the initial intervention towards lowering the menace is creating awareness about the disease among the staff. It has been reported in quite a number of cases where doctors and nurses died due to the virus infection. That is detrimental to the fight towards lowering the spread of the virus (Dixon & Schafer, 2014).

After comprehensive education of the staff members, it is important to educate the public again about the disease and how it is transmitted. According to Hahm, Lee, Rough, & Strathdee the rate of new infection is reduced when there is increased awareness among the public (2011). For instance, the rate of HIV infections has gone down due to the fact that people got adequate knowledge on the basic measures, which should be taken to prevent the progression of the disease (Sharp & Hahn, 2008).

The workplace and isolation centers have to be well equipped with the basic personal preventive equipment. The tents or rooms of isolation should have the negative pressures so as to prevent the spread of the disease from the infected patients who are already isolated. There is a possibility of survival after acquiring the virus, although it is minimal. Therefore, upon confirmation of an Ebola case, the medical practitioners should move swiftly to prevent the death of the patient, which coms as a result of electrolyte imbalance and hypovolemia. Therefore, infected patients should get adequate medical supportive care (Allaranga et al., 2010).

Conclusion

The scientific method of the study is important in coming up with solutions in medical care. There is an assumption which, if put down as a hypothesis, can be very crucial. Therefore, to ascertain the hypothesis, it is important to plan the future modalities for patient care and infection prevention among the affected groups.

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