2019-Another Ebola epidemic
Five years ago the world watched as Africa grappled with a Ebola deadly epidemic as the virus swept through Liberia, infecting and killing scores of people, including healthcare workers.
Now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda find themselves in the midst of the second largest Ebola outbreak in history. It began in the DRC last year, and has now spread to Uganda, since the countries share a border and people travel freely between them.
The 2014 Liberian Epidemic
In 2014, the Ebola virus came to the United States when a volunteer physician working in Liberia contracted the virus and flew home for treatment which proved successful. His illness and recovery from what is usually a fatal disease caught the world’s attention. Here is a summary of the dramatic story.
Dr. Kent Brantly -physician and patient
Dr. Kent Brantly awoke feeling ill- muscle aches, fever, sore throat, headache and nausea. As his condition progressively worsened to include difficulty breathing, he learned the cause of his illness- the Ebola virus. Having spent the past few weeks caring for patients caught up in the Ebola epidemic that swept Liberia in the spring of 2014, Dr. Brantly had contracted the disease himself, and would likely die, as almost all victims do.
Dr. Brantly, a graduate of Indiana University’s School of Medicine, had volunteered to work at ELWA Hospital in Liberia which was receiving aid from Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. This hospital served as Monrovia’s Ebola treatment center and Dr. Brantly headed the unit.
As his condition deteriorated, his physicians decided his only hope for recovery was use of an experimental drug, ZMapp, previously untested on humans. Since otherwise he was likely to die, he received the drug by infusion into a vein. By the next morning he felt well enough to arise from bed and shower. Unknown to him, thousands of people around the world had been praying for him.
During this time his colleague, nurse Nancy Writebol, was battling her own Ebola infection. She also was treated with ZMapp.
Samaritan’s Purse arranged for both of them to be evacuated to the United States. There, they could continue receiving supportive medical care, as well as allow infectious disease specialists to learn from their conditions. It also would relieve the workload on the doctors who continued to care for Ebola patients at ELWA.
An update about Dr. Brantly, July 2019
Five years after contracting the deadly virus in Liberia, the Christian doctor will serve at Mukinge Mission Hospital in Zambia. Read the story here-
The Ebola Fighters
Dr. Brantly and hundreds of other professionals who treated Ebola victims in 2014, the “Ebola fighters”, were named Time magazine’s PERSON of the YEAR for 2014.
Ebola is a war, and a warning. The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, and “us” means everyone, not just those in faraway places where this is one threat among many that claim lives every day. The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight.Nancy Gibbs, TIME magazine
Once again, Samaritan’s Purse is working to contain and stop the Ebola epidemic , now in the DRC.
“Samaritan’s Purse opened an Ebola Treatment Center on Jan. 17 in Komanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to meet the needs of suffering people as this deadly disease continues to spread. We are running the center with dedicated national Congolese staff under the oversight of a small international team.
As of July 2, over 2,300 people in DRC have been infected with Ebola, and 1,586 have died from the disease. Sadly, those numbers continue to rise. The fatality rate of the current Ebola outbreak in DRC is a staggering 67 percent—a rate that is elevated due to ongoing violence and resistance among community members.”
You can help Samaritan’s Purse fight Ebola by donating at the link above or
You can also make a donation by mail. Send to: Samaritan’s Purse, PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607
(Neither Dr. Aletha nor this blog are affiliated with Samaritan’s Purse nor compensated for mentioning their work.)
“The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) gives a clear picture of God’s desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we find them. After describing how the Samaritan rescued a hurting man whom others had passed by, Jesus told His hearers, “Go and do likewise.”Samaritan’s Purse website
You can read the Good Samaritan story in my previous post at this link
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