Ebola: Is It Really a Concern?

With a growing threat of Ebola spreading around the world, it is important that all people understand the effects of this virus and the means by which one can contract it. Ebola has become a growing concern among many Americans, as outbreaks have occurred at a Texas hospital and the scare in the KU medical center; it is evident that this may be something that is not just limited to West Africa.

While most of these cases have occurred in West Africa, it is important to understand the numbers that are associated with the pandemic. Coming from the updated October 19 report conducted by the CDC, a total of 9915 cases have been reported, while 4555 of these cases have been fatal. Given these numbers, one can conclude that as of now there has been a 46% fatality rate. Yet some good news has come from West Africa as well. Nigeria and Senegal have not reported any new cases of Ebola, exhibiting a possible containment in these nations.

Despite general facts it is important to understand how the virus actually works and what it does to the body. Unfortunately, there has been no certain observations surrounding the virus, but many have hypothesized and made general observations on how the virus takes control of the body. One of these speculations is that it will attack the immune cells which are generally used to combat any foreign illnesses that enter the body. Therefore once the immune system is down, the rest of the body is completely vulnerable to what is yet to come. The virus is also said to target the connective tissue in which it will begin to reproduce. Here it is important to understand how viruses in general work. Viruses are not exactly organisms and are ideally a mass of RNA. Once it enters the body, the viral RNA will create DNA in the host cell. This in turn will make the host cell create proteins that the virus had the coding to produce. This explains why there is a great difficulty for finding possible cures to viruses. Unlike normal cells or bacteria, viruses are considered by many not to be organisms because they all lack the components to which they are considered living. Therefore there is no medication to actually target the viruses and only medication to treat the symptoms that are associated with it.

Given this information that makes the virus seem extremely dangerous, which it certainly is, the virus can be avoided and there is hope in containing the virus. The spread of the virus can only occur in bodily fluids; therefore direct contact with a current patient must be made in order to contract the virus. It is very difficult to contract the virus in this case and common people can feel more at ease as this shouldn’t relate to them as much as doctors or other health workers who are working to help patients. Practicing good hygiene is important as a small countermeasure for Ebola, and it is safe to say that it is good for anything else as well.

About Mr. Mohn

Biology Teacher

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