What happened to ebola?

Ebola is an infectious and generally fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding, spread through contact with infected body fluids. The disease was first identified in 1976 and occurs in regions of sub-Saharan Africa. There are normally fewer than 500 cases reported each year, and no cases were reported at all between 1979 and 1994.

The Ebola outbreak was in the mind of all the people. Newspapers, television news, documentaries focused their attention on this disease for month. The pick of consideration occurred when an epidemic was feared in the US.

This outbreak, which started in March 2014, is considered the deadliest and most devastating outbreak in the history of the disease. In June, Doctors without borders described the Ebola outbreak as out of control. In August, the United Nations health agency declared an “international public health emergency”, saying that a coordinated response was essential to halt the spread of the virus. By September, WHO director general Margaret Chan said the number of patients was “moving far faster than the capacity to manage them“. The countries which were mainly affected by this infection are: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The total cases registered in the above countries are 25288 while the total deaths are 10.462. Senza titolo

After months of alarm the deadly disease has faded from public consciousness. All the news, reportages, debates on Ebola have disappeared from the public area. Does this mean that the disease is finally under control? Are we reaching the 1.4 million infection predicted?

The latest report from WHO suggests that the rate of new cases is slowing down, and although the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history is not finished yet, the worst of it may be behind us. The frightful number of expected infections (1.4 million) predicted by the WHO report can be explained by some reasons. First, the report was published in September 2014 and included data until the end of August. At that time, the rate of infection reached its maximum pick, and very few governments and aid organizations seemed willing to help. Second, in September 2014 few government took serious actions to help those countries hit by Ebola. However, starting from the end of September, numerous aids and doctors were sent to limit and cure the disease. The situation started to improve quickly. The WHO could not have predicted which organizations and which countries would help.

The situation is not solved yet. A considerable number of people are infected each week and help and effort are still required to annihilate the disease. However, thanks to the help of various NGOs and the collaboration provided by many different countries, Ebola no longer represents the same threat to human kind as it did before. The UN succeed to allocate $473.3 million to Liberia, $220.5 million to Sierra Leone and $194.2 million to Guinea. The NGOs were able to provide a total of 2000 tons worth of food, medicine and clothing.

“We really don’t know what would have happened if the world hadn’t stepped up”

The challenge now is represented by all those who survived to Ebola. These people are usually rejected from their villages and their families. Survivors have difficult time to be reintegrated and start a new life. Their life is seriously threaten by the superstitions of the other people. Moreover, the countries hit by Ebola need economic aids in order to recover their developing economies.

Francesco Stefani

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