Ebola has spread beyond a contained group of caregivers treating a dying airline passenger in Africa, infecting two unexpected victims in Nigeria.
According to ABC News, the Ebola virus has broken out across West Africa with 142 new record cases. This brings the total of Ebola infections to 2,615 with 1,427 dead from the disease, according to the World Health Organization.
Fifty thousand people have been sealed off in Liberia to contain the outbreak of Ebola. Most of the newly reported cases of the virus have been within the area, most likely a result of the government delivering rice to the people quarantined within the capital city. Liberia has become overwhelmed with new Ebola patients. The U.N. Health Agency has said that 70 new people suspected to be infected with Ebola were admitted into a health center with only 20 beds.
“This phenomenon strongly suggests the existence of an invisible caseload of patients who are not being detected by the surveillance system,” said the health agency. “This has never before been seen in an Ebola outbreak.”
The two new cases in Nigeria were a result of people being infected with Ebola from their spouses who were medical workers that came in direct contact with Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer. Sawyer flew to Nigeria from Liberia and spread Ebola to 11 people before he died of the disease. Nigerian officials claimed that Sawyer hadn’t spread Ebola because he had been quarantined, but once the two new cases broke out they admitted he hadn’t been sealed off quickly enough.
A total of 213 people are being closely monitored for signs of Ebola, having come in contact with other infected patients or caregivers. The amount of people infected with Ebola in Nigeria is 16, with five having died, and five having survived. The remaining six are being treated in Lagos.
Though the spread of the ebola virus seems quick and deadly, most scientists and medical experts agree that it should not be cause for alarm for most people. According to CTV News, Ebola is not as contagious as people think. Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pittsburgh, explained:
“Ebola is an infectious disease that’s very deadly and strikes fear into people’s minds when they think of it. However, it’s not very contagious,” said Adalja. “The only way that you can get Ebola is through exposure to blood and bodily fluids. This isn’t influenza, it isn’t the common cold, this isn’t measles – you can’t get it through the air.”
[Image courtesy of CBC]