The Ebola Outbreak.

The case of a man recently dying in a Dallas hospital after being diagnosed with Ebola has raised concerns and fears about the deadly disease. Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on Sept. 30, had traveled to the United States after contracting the disease in Liberia. After the shocking news that the disease had made its way to the United States, many have begun to seek answers about the disease, its symptoms and how it is spread.

Jonathan Torres, a carwash manager, admitted to not knowing what the consequences were of getting Ebola and how it was spread.

Torres said that the Ebola situation seems too much like the 1995 movie “Outbreak,”
which depicts the outbreak of a deadly virus that spreads rapidly and has no cure.

“I hope the U.S. administration and the health department handles this situation delicately because it concerns the health and lives of a country,” Torres said. “We don’t need more diseases and more problems.”

According to information from the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus was first transmitted to people from infected wild animals in parts of Africa. In humans, the virus lives inside bodily fluids such as blood, vomit and feces and is spread through direct contact with such fluid. Initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. In more advanced stages the virus causes vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, and impaired kidney and liver function. It is often fatal in humans and there is no cure.

Doctors say close contact is the usual way for people to become infected with Ebola
virus. Those who are most vulnerable to catching the virus are health care professionals who are helping sick patients, as they have to be near fluids infected with Ebola when they draw blood or clean vomit.

Dr. Stephanie Eijsink-Roehr, head of the medical clinic at TJC, said that in the case of Thomas Eric Duncan, hospital and health officials placed those who had close contact with him on a 21 day isolation, and then determined the virus had not been transmitted to others. That would change when Nina Pham, a 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital came into the hospital Friday night and was diagnosed with Ebola. She’s now in isolation and in stable condition. It’s the first known case of Ebola being transmitted within the U.S.

Laura Roberts, an East Texas Medical Center nurse, said researchers and government officials are working hard to find a cure and answers to the disease. She believes it is likely that more Ebola cases will be diagnosed in America.

“People should make an effort to know the facts,” said Roberts. “I recommend that people read and research a little bit more about the Ebola Virus Disease. It will help the nation and its people know how to prevent such a disease.”

Dr. Eijsink-Roehr said that increased travel during the holidays may increase the chances of other infected people coming into the United States. She is recommending that teachers and TJC personnel discourage students from any travel to West Africa, where thousands have died from the virus.

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