Ebola Virus Spreads Across Western Africa
In the past few months, the Ebola virus has been spreading across all of western Africa. At least 500 people have been killed in the most severe outbreak of Ebola since it was discovered in the 1970s. The countries hardest hit are Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where the epidemic began at the beginning of 2014. Health experts think that thousands of people may be infected, but have not reported themselves to doctors.
Health officials of the World Health Organization, who are investigating in the region, have reported cases where whole villages are deserted and dead people are left behind. Doctors are concentrating on isolating cases and containing the spread of the Ebola virus.
The Ebola virus was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. It was named after the Ebola River, where the virus was first seen.
Ebola spreads when you get into contact with blood, organs or fluids of infected animals or people.
In most cases, symptoms turn up about a week after a victim is infected. The virus causes diarrhea, fever and internal bleeding, as well as increased blood pressure. It also damages the central nervous system. In the end, the Ebola virus leads to multi-organ failure. Up to 90% of people infected die of the virus.
Ebola is one of the world’s deadliest viruses. Currently there is no cure, although scientists have been working on vaccines that use antibodies from people who have survived from infection. Ebola is especially widespread in central Africa where fruit bats and monkeys are thought to be hosts. Normally outbreaks of Ebola are restricted to the remote areas in which they have started. However, nomads and other people move around without knowing that they have the virus in them.
The World Health Organization confirms that drastic action is needed to stop the virus from spreading and getting out of control.
Ebola cases from 1976 to the present
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- although = while
- antibody = a substance produced to fight off a disease
- blood pressure = the force with which blood flows through your body
- case = situation
- central nervous system = the part of your nervous system that consists of your brain and your backbone
- confirm = to say that something is true
- contain =stop
- cure = treatment, medicine
- currently = at the moment
- deserted = nobody lives there any more
- diarrhea = illness in which your waste comes out in a watery form
- discover = to find for the first time
- drastic = radical , strong
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- failure = if something stops working
- fluid = liquid , watery material
- host = animal or insect that carries a disease
- increase = to go up
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- internal bleeding = when you lose blood in your organs
- investigate = examine, look carefully at, inspect
- isolate = to separate people who have the virus from others, so that it cannot spread
- lead to = cause
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- nomad = person of a tribe who wanders from one place to another without having a permanent home
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- vaccine = a substance that has a weak form of the virus in it that is used to protect people from a disease
- widespread = very common