Ebola is one of the world’s most lethal viruses with up to nine in 10 infections ending in death. And right now, parts of West Africa are in the midst of the worst-ever outbreak. Nearly 700 people have died this year and it may now be spreading further. CCTV’s Susan Roberts reports.
World Health Organization reports 672 deathsEbola is one of the world's most lethal viruses with up to 9 in 10 infections ending in death. And right now, parts of West Africa are in the midst of the worst-ever outbreak. Nearly 700 people have died this year and it may now be spreading further. CCTV's Susan Roberts reports.
The first outbreaks of the disease that would become known as Ebola were reported back in 1976, nearly 40 years ago in Sudan what was then Zaire. There is no good treatment for it, and no vaccine. Since the outbreak began in February, already 1,200 cases and 672 deaths have been logged by the World Health Organization.
The outbreak is centered in three countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — and officials are concerned that it could spread.
Nigeria just reported its first case in Lagos where a Liberian man died in quarantine. He fell ill during air travel on a series of flights that originated in Liberia.
In the current outbreak, the death rate is about 60 percent. Even burial must be done carefully because contact with the bodies could spread the virus. Health agencies say they fear the outbreak may get worse.
The virus is infecting even those trained in how to prevent its spread like American doctor Kent Brantly.
American missionary Nancy Writebol was also working near Ebola patients in Liberia. She is also now infected.
As if the virus itself weren’t difficult enough to treat, doctors say poor health infrastructure and a lack of manpower in West Africa make matters even worse.