The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) is preparing to declare a world-wide health emergency as the Ebola virus shows no signs of ebbing on the African continent. The situation is so dire that the W.H.O. is even preparing to OK the use of experimental treatments on humans.
The virus is spreading throughout Africa with country after country reporting cases. Patients are turning up in nearby countries, as well. Saudi Arabia, for instance, has just reported a possible case of the deadly disease.
The Saudi case is not yet verified as Ebola but some reports claim that the now deceased Saudi citizen had been in Sierra Leone on business. The patient, a man in his 40s, died at King Fahd Hospital in Jidda on August 6. He is reported as having exhibited Ebola-like symptoms.
Officially, it is being reported that 1,711 cases of Ebola have appeared in Africa of which 932 have died. This number does not take into account any of the cases that may have occurred outside the hospitals among peoples fearful of governments and heath officials.
Recently a top doctor in Liberia warned that there are likely many more cases that have gone unreported.
But even official numbers keep climbing. Just between Saturday and Monday alone 108 new cases were reported.
The situation is so far out of control that the W.H.O. is now seeking guidance from medical ethicists on how to proceed with experimental treatments.
In a public statement, W.H.O. Assistant Director-General Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny noted that the situation is both dire and unprecedented. “We are in an unusual situation in this outbreak. We have a disease with a high fatality rate without any proven treatment or vaccine,” Dr Kieny said. “We need to ask the medical ethicists to give us guidance on what the responsible thing to do is.”
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control is attempting to keep a tight lid on any possible cases. After news broke that six patients were being tested in the U.S., the CDC refused to report exactly where in the country these cases are located.
At least three out of those six patients in the U.S. are now being said to be clear of the virus. Today it was announced via a press release from New York’s Mt. Sinai hospital that the one patient being tested for Ebola there has tested negative for the virus.
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