8 patients are being held in quarantined or being monitored at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital after coming into contact with a patient exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms. Even though the patient is being considered “at low risk” of having the disease, multiple public health agencies are mobilizing to avoid possible spreading of the disease.
“We had a situation today in which somebody who had recently traveled to a country where there are still some active cases of Ebola had been returned to the U.S.,” Jefferson County Medical Director Edward Khan said. “This person would fit into our low-risk category, meaning they did not come into contact with any known Ebola cases while over there, and they didn’t participate in any high-risk activities such as burial ceremonies or health care work.”
2 family members of the original patient is being asked to stay in their homes while 4 emergency responders are under quarantine overnight at a “secure facility inside the (Birmingham) city limits” for monitoring. The area around the original patient’s home is closed to traffic.
This is what you need to know:
There Has Been No Confirmed Cases of Ebola in Alabama
Alabama last reported a possible Ebola contamination last June when a patient at Children’s of Alabama displayed symptoms of Ebola. After consultation with the Center for disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Health, it was determined that the patient did not meet the criteria for Ebola.
Despite this close call, there has been no diagnosed cases of Ebola in Alabama or in any part of the American South, with the exception of Texas.
Ebola Cases are on the Decline Worldwide
According to the World Health Organization, the number of new cases of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in Sierra Leone and Guinea has dropped to its lowest level in a year, with only one new report in each country. There are no new reports in Liberia.
“That progress is real,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, an assistant director general for WHO. He believes that the 2014 Ebola Epidemic could be quelled completely by the end of 2015.
The Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever is a disease contracted by primates and humans through direct contact with body fluids of an infected body. Symptoms — including fever, sore throat, muscular pain and headaches — typically manifest between 2 days and 3 weeks after contracting the Ebola virus . This is followed by vomiting, rashes and diarrhea, with the possibility of internal and external bleeding. 25 to 90 percent of everyone infected by the disease dies from hypovolemic shock — or low blood pressure due to extreme fluid loss — within 6 to 16 days of symptoms appearing.
There is a Vaccine for Ebola that is Thought to be 100 Percent Effective
The Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (also called the Ebola Virus Disease) is one of the most destructive diseases in history, killing more than 11,000 since the beginning of the 2014 epidemic in late 2013. In July, 2015, the medical journal Lancet published a paper suggesting that the results of a trial of an Ebola vaccine showed 100 percent effectiveness.
“Between April 1, 2015, and July 20, 2015, 90 clusters, with a total population of 7651 people were included in the planned interim analysis. 48 of these clusters (4123 people) were randomly assigned to immediate vaccination with rVSV-ZEBOV, and 42 clusters (3528 people) were randomly assigned to delayed vaccination with rVSV-ZEBOV,” the paper read. “In the immediate vaccination group, there were no cases of Ebola virus disease with symptom onset at least 10 days after randomisation, whereas in the delayed vaccination group there were 16 cases of Ebola virus disease from seven clusters, showing a vaccine efficacy of 100%. No new cases of Ebola virus disease were diagnosed in vaccines from the immediate or delayed groups from 6 days post-vaccination.”
With this vaccine being the first Ebola vaccination to clear clinical trials, there was high hopes for this medication. However, with the epidemic calming down, there are fewer opportunities to find community clusters to test the vaccine. There is, however, hope that the trials can continue as planned in order to secure FDA approval of the vaccine for Americans visiting infected areas.
The 2014 Ebola Epidemic was the Largest Such Epidemic in History
The 2014 Ebola Epidemic has resulted in 27,872 reported cases of Ebola hemorrhagic Fever, resulting in 11,295 deaths as of July 28, 2015. This makes the current Ebola epidemic the largest and most deadly Ebola epidemic in history. Between 1976 and 2013, the World Health Organization reported 1,716 cases of Ebola infection.
According to WHO statistics, 70.8 percent of all patients that contracted Ebola without receiving hospitalization died from the infection, while 57 to 59 percent of hospitalized patients died. The largest concentrations of infections occurred in Liberia (10,672 cases), Sierra Leone (13,379 cases) and Guinea (3,785 cases).
There Have Been 4 Cases of Ebola in the United States in the Last 12 Months
The United States saw 4 confirmed cases of Ebola in the current epidemic, with 1 death. The first case, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, occurred on September 30, 2014 when a man traveled from Liberia to Dallas. The only Ebola fatality to occur in this country for this epidemic, the man died at the Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. The patient passed the virus to two healthcare worker who were caring for him, making the workers the second and third confirmed Ebola cases on October 10 and 15, 2014, respectively. Both patients recovered 2 weeks following contraction.
The final confirmed case occurred October 23, 2014 in New York City when an aid worker working with Doctors Without Borders returned home from Guinea. The patient recovered 3 weeks later.