Updated 05:31 AM EST, Sun, Dec 05, 2021

Ebola Update 2014: Stats, News, and Doctor Returns to U.S. for Treatment

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The Centers for Disease Control, this week, upgraded their warning on the Ebola virus, the deadliest outbreak in history. African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the spots where the virus has hit the hardest.

More than 700 people have died in the latest outbreak, including some 50 health care workers.

According to news reports, an American doctor has been flown into Atlanta for treatment. He contracted the virus while working in Africa. Right now the only treatment that's provided is called "supportive," as there's no cure for Ebola at this time.

Dr. Kent Brantly was flown in an air ambulance to Dobbins Air Reserve Base near Atlanta on Saturday morning. He'll be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in an isolation ward, according to officials.
"A second American infected with Ebola, Nancy Writebol, was also due to arrive in Atlanta. Brantly and Writebol were working for Samaritan's Purse, an aid agency, in Liberia when they fell ill," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement this week. "Far too many lives have been lost already."

Passengers flying from the affected regions are being screened before they board airplanes.

"It will take months, and it won't be easy, but Ebola can be stopped," Frieden assured.

Dr. Nahid Bhadella, who works with the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory explained the severity of the outbreak to wbur.org, "This is the first time Ebola has been present in these three countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Because these countries haven't seen the infection before, that impacted their ability to recognize and manage the infection early on."

"Also, because of the recent travel of the American Patrick Sawyer to Lagos [where he died of Ebola], I think it has raised a lot more concern about transfer of Ebola abroad, which has not been much of an issue in the past," he said.

For Bhadella as well as other health care workers headed into the deadly ground zero of Ebola, there are concerns if they'll remain virus-free.

"I have fears for my safety," he said to wbur.org. "I think it'd be cavalier not to have a healthy amount of fear, but it's that fear that drives us to be careful and to follow the protocols. I have extensive training and I have a background in infectious disease and particularly with these pathogens."

I'm reminded of the Hillel quotation, 'If not me, then who, and if not now, then when?' The need is great. The health care workers are overwhelmed, and more help can make it safer for everyone involved."

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