With the potential to kill within a week, and a death rate that’s been as high as 90%—ebola is still very much at large in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But that may change soon.
Similar to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), ebola may have gotten its start in surprising place: bats, more specifically fruit bats. But the good news is there are some promising breakthroughs and not one but two exciting experimental vaccines in use in the DRC—the location of the second-largest ebola outbreak in history. But the Kivu outbreak may finally be over.
On this episode of SICK, we sit down with Dr. John Misai and Dr. Peter Piot to find out more about this deadly disease.
So how exactly does Ebola work? Where did it come from? Why are its outbreaks so difficult to contain? And is there any hope of getting rid of it once and for all?
Find out the answers and more in this SICK
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A Drug Developed to Fight Ebola Could Hold Hope for Coronavirus Treatment
The Ebola outbreak in North Kivu seems to have come to an end just as the coronavirus panic struck Europe and the U.S.—the WHO says there has not been a new case of Ebola since Feb. 17 this year. Despite the marked differences in how the viruses operate (Ebola is far more deadly than coronavirus, and it is only transmitted through infected bodily fluids, while COVID-19 is believed to be transmitted through airborne droplets), there are many similarities in the range of public response, from denial that the disease is a problem to contact tracing and mandatory quarantining for people who have potentially contracted the illness.
The second largest Ebola outbreak in history may finally be over
The eventual containment of Ebola in the northeastern DRC reflected the value of an intensified vaccination campaign with an increased focus on community engagement aimed at easing suspicions about the efforts of government, international organizations, and health-care workers who were trying to end the spread of the virus.
What the West Can Learn From Africa’s Ebola Response
Those first days of the 2014 Ebola outbreak and Liberia’s response from that point on can offer important lessons to European and North American governments in light of the World Health Organization’s announcement that the new coronavirus is now a pandemic—and the evidence in rising caseloads from Madrid to London to New York. The Liberian government’s reaction to the crisis and the approach we took in Liberia could serve as a model for how Western countries, many of which are underprepared for a crisis of this magnitude, can respond.