Ebola : profile of a killer virus by Dorothy H. Crawford

By Dorothy H. Crawford

First chanced on in 1976, and lengthy considered as an simply doable virus affecting remoted rural groups, Ebola rocketed to international prominence in 2014 as a perilous epidemic swept via Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia in West Africa. hundreds of thousands of individuals died because the terribly contagious affliction unfold swiftly from villages to city centres. preliminary quarantine responses proved frequently too little and too Read more...


Ebola is a compelling account of the new negative epidemic which swept via West Africa. Why did it unfold; what used to be the overseas reaction; what's the long term effect; what classes can Read more...

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5 They followed human chains of infection to unravel the spread of the virus through Yambuku and surrounding villages, docu­ menting many distressing family tragedies like this one taken from Piot’s account: We heard of entire families who had been wiped out by the swift-­ moving virus. In one case, a woman in Yambuku had died days after giving birth, swiftly followed by her newborn. Her thirteen-year-old daughter, who had traveled to Yambuku to take charge of the child, fell ill once she returned to her home village and died days later; fol­ lowed by her uncle’s wife, who had cared for her; then her uncle; and then another female relative who had come to care for him.

For reasons of safety other samples, such as faeces, urine, and throat swab, were not collected during the acute illness, but from day fourteen onwards all were negative. But in a completely unexpected finding, Platt’s semen tested positive for Ebola virus at this stage and remained so for sixty-one days—long after the virus had disappeared from the blood. This finding, reminiscent of Marburg in 1969, first alerted doctors to the fact that Ebola was present in secretions and could remain in the body as a potential source of virus spread for several weeks after the patient had apparently recovered.

This was the shocked community in which David Heymann (a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Officer Trainee in 1976, and later Assistant Director of WHO), the only Commissioner to remain in Yambuku, found himself. Perhaps he was chosen to stay behind because he spoke fluent French, the official language of Zaire, but 49 ebol a: profile of a k iller v irus also he had been in Zaire for a shorter time than the other Commissioners. Back in October 1976 as the others set off for Zaire, CDC officials sent Heymann to Dallas, Texas.

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