Monday, November 26, 2018


The newspapers recently reported an epidemic of Ebola fever in the Republic of the Congo. Ebola is one of the viral hemorrhagic fevers that has a high mortality. This outbreak, with 267 cases and 170 deaths, is the worst ever experienced in that country. This number pales when compared with the pandemic of Ebola that occurred in 2014 in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The number of victims far exceeded the available beds and shelters and infected persons had to be turned away. In response to a plea from President Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, President Obama dispatched nearly 3000 troops including the 36th Engineering Brigade and elements of the 101st Airborne to Liberia. The Americans set out to do what they were good at – building. They constructed wooden Ebola Treatment Units in Monrovia and the surrounding countryside.

At the time of this outbreak there were no vaccines or treatment available other than supportive. The Ebola virus attacks the blood vessels causing hemorrhage, shock, and often death.  The virus is present in every body fluid, tears, saliva, mother’s milk, blood, urine, vaginal fluid, semen, and feces. If any of these reaches even the slightest break in the skin, infection is sure to follow. Health workers, mostly Doctors Without Borders and volunteers from other countries must wear personal protective equipment, PPE. Work in the PPE is limited to about one hour due to the heat.

By the time the West African pandemic ended, Liberia experienced 4,806 deaths, Guinea suffered 3,955 and Sierra Leone had 2,536 for a total of 11,297!

Ebola virus is believed to be present in some macaque monkeys and the first human infection probably occurred when an infected monkey was eaten in 1976 in Sudan.

Ebola infection occurred in the United States when imported macaque monkeys were being dissected by workers from a military unit studying biological weapons.

A complete discussion may be found in my book The Ebola Connection. The book describes the lives of two brothers tragically shattered by war and calamity. One is wounded in Iraq ending his career as a combat medic until the Ebola Pandemic ranging in Africa provides him with a second chance. The other survives prison for vehicular homicide only to lose his wife and unborn daughter in childbirth. Each recovers to lead separate lives when a phone call from Australia changes everything.

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