Vaccinate or Suffer the Virus?

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David Vavrinak, Editor-in-Chief

One of the world’s deadliest diseases that has remained relatively uncharted since 2007 has begun to show up again in what CNN claims as “the worst outbreak in [its] history.” Named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where one of the first victims was reported, this disease has a history that dates back to 1976. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that fruit bats are Ebola’s natural host, and it is transferred through contact of bodily fluids: blood, urine, vomit. The United States’ Center for Disease Control describes how the disease causes viral hemorrhaging within the infected, and this can occur anywhere between 2 to 21 days after infection. Victims of this disease may suffer from sudden fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches or sore throat.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reports that the Ebola Virus is “one of the world’s most deadly diseases” that can “kill up to 90% of the people who catch it.” The WHO shows that nearly 3,500 cases have been reported with nearly 2,100 of those people dead.

Researchers are currently working on a cure, yet they are finding it very difficult. So far there has been only one experimental drug, ZMapp, which has proven to be rather effective. Five out of the seven who were dispensed some of the medicine were cured; however, the developer of the drug says the supply is exhausted, and it may take months to make more dispensable amounts. Recent studies, thankfully, are pointing towards a very promising solution: blood from surviving victims. Dr. Peter Piot, co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, says that the modified antibodies of already-cured patients may be able to help those who are infected. GlaxoSmithKline reports that it may have 10,000 doses of modified chimpanzee cold virus available by December, and research on many other experimental drugs is set to begin in the next few weeks.

Most high school students grew up with inoculations, and a fatal disease has never spread throughout our shores within the last nearly 100 years. It is good to be educated on the dangers of these diseases because many believe that it won’t be long before this disease or another equally fatal will arrive on our shores.