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Ebola takes a “Heavy Toll” on Health Workers, WHO Reports

Update Date: Aug 26, 2014 10:34 AM EDT

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola outbreak that started back in March has taken a "heavy toll" on health workers stationed at the four affected nations.

The agency reported that the virus has sickened more than 2,600 people with more than 240 of them being health care workers. The WHO stated that the transmission of the infection from patient to health care workers could cause negative consequences in the future.

Within some of these nations, there are roughly only one or two doctors per 100,000 patients. When the doctors and other health staff become infected due to factors such as poor protective equipment or a lack of medical gear, the medical situation can worsen quickly. With no one to care for the sick patients, the death toll can increase rapidly.

"Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leona and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care but also of inspiring national heroes," the WHO said in a statement reported by BBC News. "In many cases, medical staff are at risk because no protective equipment is available - not even gloves and face masks."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added that even though measures are being taken, the virus still has the "upper hand." Despite the fact that the virus is still spreading throughout the nations, health experts are optimistic that the outbreak can be stopped before it ventures out of the four nations.

"Ebola doesn't spread by mysterious means, we know how it spreads," the director of the CDC, Tom Frieden stated reported by HealthDay. "So we have the means to stop it from spreading, but it requires tremendous attention to every detail."

The virus causes initial symptoms such as sudden onset fever, muscle pain, weakness, sore throat and headache. These symptoms can be followed by more severe ones, which include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, internal and external bleeding. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease. People are often treated with fever-reducing drugs and other supportive care options.

The latest numbers report that the virus has infected 2,615 people and killed 1,427. The current mortality rate is at around 55 percent.

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