The deadly consequences of Ebola
The latest epidemic of this frightening disease is killing many in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Ebola! The very name instills dread and bewilderment. And so it should. Ebola virus disease (EVD), an acute, serious illness that is often fatal if untreated, is a condition that, while rare, spreads at an alarming rate once transmitted.
The disease is passed to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus. Fever, sore throat, muscular pain, and headaches are early indicators. Vomiting, diarrhea, and rash usually follow. Later stages of EVD are marked by decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Soon afterwards, victims can start to bleed both internally and externally. For many, a slow, painful demise is inevitable—the disease has a high risk of death, killing between 25 and 90% of those infected, with an average of about 50%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
It's an illness that sounds straight out of medieval history books. But this terrible virus is very much part of the 21st century, and has killed thousands across western Africa.
First identified in 1976, Ebola has since risen its ugly head on numerous occasions across several African countries. It's currently decimating people in remote areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo in a medical emergency exacerbated by the fact that this latest outbreak has occurred in an active conflict zone.
Health workers are risking their own lives every day while helping those afflicted by Ebola. Presently, the epidemic shows no sign of abating and WHO is calling for more overseas aid to tackle what's fast becoming an international disaster.
Click through this gallery for an update on the situation, and a brief recent history of this awful disease.
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