What is Ebola?

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One of the two Americans infected with Ebola arrived in the Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday marking the first time anyone with this deadly virus has been brought into the United States.

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were infected with Ebola in Liberia where they were working as missionaries. They will be treated in a special isolation unit at Emory University that is only one of four facilities in the US capable of dealing with Ebola patients.

Ebola and it is one of the most virulent and dangerous viruses on the planet.

The recent outbreak is the worst one on record.  Ebola is a hemorrhagic disease which has a high death rate..usually around 90%, but so far a bit less.  Just to give you an idea of how serious that percentage is, smallpox which killed ¼ of the population of Europe many centuries ago, had a 33% mortality (death) rate.

Up until now, these outbreaks have been small and within a small area in Africa. However, this outbreak which began in Sierra Leon has been continuing to spread.  At this point, more than 700 people have died including the doctor in charge of the epidemic.

The symptoms are: bleeding from every orifice, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headaches and nausea. Most of the initial symptoms sound much like the flu.

Once the symptoms begin, the patient is probably contagious through the passage of body fluids. Officials stated that the infected doctors were transported in a jet fitted with a collapsible, clear tent that the Center for Disease Control uses to transfer people exposed to contagious diseases.  

Doctors state that they can treat the infected Americans without putting the public at risk, but unfortunately there is no cure for this or any viral disease.

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