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Ebola: Containing The Spread...How Feasible?

Medic-ALL (13:10:2014) by Kayode Kuku

Nearly 3 months ago, the news of a Liberian-American infected with the Ebola virus entering into Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria filled the air and the spotlight was on the African continent, particularly the West African countries; Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia that had been ravaged by the outbreak of the  deadly disease many months before one of Africa's biggest economies was hit by the news of the "immigrant" index patient ; a remarkable 38 years after the first recorded outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976.

Fears were raised at the time as to the the likelihood of the virus to spread to other parts of the world as many believed the alarming spread in the lesser developed West African countries may have been due to sub-standard level of their healthcare systems. 


In a Medic-ALL blog post titled "Ebola; Will it Keep Spreading" at the outset of the now aborted outbreak in Nigeria, it was reported that Public health experts expect the virus to reach other parts of the world including the United States but unlikely to spread in regions with well-funded hospitals and standard infection-control procedures. Barely months later and the news of the first case diagnosed in the United States and then another case of an infected healthworker in Spain were reported, raising worldwide fears of a pandemic if more austere measures are not in place to contain the virus and its spread from continent to continent. ARE WE REALLY WINNING ?

More disturbing news emanated yesterday, with the United States confirming a second case involving a female nurse at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital infected as a result of an unknown breech in hospital Protocol and was confirmed positive for the virus on Sunday afternoon according to the CDC. She is said to have attended to Duncan (the first U.S patient) after his second visit to the emergency room on September 28 and followed all CDC precautions including wearing of masks ,gowns, gloves and protective face shield. The CDC's Thomas Frieden in a statement outlined several steps taken to care for the health worker and prevent the infection of others, he however said more cases of the deadly virus may be likely.

There is no doubt that we are dealing with a highly transmissible and truly lethal disease that deserves worldwide attention. The question of whether the virus will "Keep spreading" seems to be getting answered on a daily basis and the staggering figures of the lives that have been claimed so far, particularly in the West African region is enough to put the whole world on our toes.
Containing the spread of the virus in countries with reported cases is most paramount at this stage and it is obvious that this will require not just a "well-funded healthcare system" but a step up in our standard infection-control procedures worldwide, as Frieden highlighted that taking off protective equipment- gowns, gloves, face masks and goggles is one of the greatest areas of contamination and risk. Certainly there is need for a new note of urgency to this outbreak , this cannot be over-emphasized.

Medic-ALL.Inc 2014 

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