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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/4/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Body-melting virus killing hundreds virtually unchecked in West Africa

The scientist who discovered the Ebola virus. Dr. Peter Piot says that the current outbreak of the body-melting virus in West Africa, in which 467 people have died, is "unprecedented." Piot also said that "because of the greater awareness, there is hope. But we're running out of time."

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa outbreak is 'already a mega-crisis,' Dr. Peter Piot says.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa outbreak is "already a mega-crisis," Dr. Peter Piot says.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/4/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Ebola, West Africa, Dr. Peter Piot, spread


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -- "One, [this is] the first time in West Africa that we have such an outbreak," Piot told TV journalists. "Secondly, it is the first time that three countries are involved. And thirdly it's the first time that we have outbreaks in capitals, in capital cities."

The non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders warns that the outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia is now "out of control." The spread of the virus has grown exponentially since being discovered in that part of the world at the beginning of 2014.

Let's pray that people make the right decisions across the world --


"With this strain of Ebola, you've got like a ninety percent chance of dying. That's spectacular by any standard - one of the most lethal viruses that exist."

In describing the onslaught of the disease, Piot warns of the slow, agonizing death. "Ebola virus infection starts with something that looks like the flu - headache, fever, maybe diarrhea. But then you can develop very fast bleeding that's uncontrollable, and that's how people die."

There is hope - while there is no cure for Ebola, Piot says that this ordinarily would make the disease easy to fight. "You need really close contact to become infected. So just being on the bus with someone with Ebola, that's not a problem."

Simple hygienic measures like washing with soap and water, not re-using syringes, and avoiding contact with infected corpses are sufficient to stop spread of the disease, Piot said.

"This is an epidemic of dysfunctional health systems . Fear of the virus, and the lack of trust in government, in the health system, is as bad as the actual virus."

The dysfunctional health care system in the affected countries are to blame, Piot says. ". A person is infected, is hospitalized, and infects other patients and particularly health care workers.

"They're buried somewhere; around that funeral, people are infected when they touch the body, and so on. And then they get ill, and then they go somewhere else, and then they go to relatives in town, maybe because they hope to have better health care. That's how it spreads."

The current outbreak is "already a mega-crisis," Piot said.

"For me, this is a reason for a state of emergency, you know, in these countries."

"You need a combination of nearly military type of control measures - isolation, quarantine of those who are the diseased - but also their relatives, to make sure that they're not spreading the infection.

"And, secondly, community mobilization. Information can save lives here."

---


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