Ebola Outbreak: Spiraling Out of Control June 30, 2014 By Cait Hartwyk Leave a Comment Conakry, Guinea The deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is currently spreading uncontrollably. Ebola outbreaks are typically confined to remote areas, which makes them easier to contain; however, this outbreak is different because patients have been identified in over sixty locations. In the past week, there have been a reported 635 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola, which 399 have resulted in deaths. Since this is the largest outbreak of Ebola to ever occur, drastic steps are being taken to fight the deadly virus, including an 11-nation meeting in early July. Considering it’s no longer a country-specific outbreak, it’s going to require firm action by other governments and partners. Ebola is a tropical virus that can affect its victims within days and is named after a small river in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virus invades the human immune system and at first shows very little symptoms, similar to the flu, until it turns into a horror. There is no medication or vaccine that exists for Ebola but if patients are able to determine symptoms early on and seek medical care immediately, doctors are usually able to keep them hydrated with nutrients to save their lives. Luckily, the virus doesn’t spread easily from person to person and the transmission requires close contact with bodily fluids. The likelihood of Ebola spreading out of West Africa is extremely low. Despite the number of healthcare experts from other countries being sent over to help and the fact that the outbreak death rate has dropped over the years from 90% to 60%, there continues to be a significant increase in the number of deaths. Unfortunately, the outbreak is unprecedented both in the number of cases and in its geographic scope. At this point in time, it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Six weeks before your scheduled departure date for any destination abroad, make an appointment to see a Passport Health travel health specialist. In addition to reviewing your medical history, they will advise and educate you about staying well during your trip, including information about outbreaks and/or restrictions and the best ways for you to protect your health to minimize health risks. Based on this individualized consultation, they will provide any vaccinations and preventive medications that are recommended and/or required for your destination. Sources: Travel Medicine Health Alerts from Passport Health Article from Mashable: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Now the Worst in History Article from NPR: Could the Ebola Outbreak Spread to Europe or the U.S.?