An ordinary blue thermos holding blood samples from a sick nun in Zaire reached Belgium's Institute of Tropical Medicine in September 1976. From the samples, researchers discovered a new virus, which they named the Ebola virus after a river in Central Africa. The virus killed two hundred eighty people before it seemingly disappeared into the jungle. No one suspected the virus would erupt in West Africa nearly four decades later to cause an unprecedented epidemic.
Ebola has rivetedand terrifiedthe world since its reemergence from the jungle, killing more than eleven thousand people in West Africa since December 2013. Transmitted through bodily fluidsblood, saliva, sweat, vomit, feces, and sementhe disease causes high fever, widespread pain, nausea and vomiting, and severe diarrhea. Patients may develop dangerous bleeding and organ failure. With no effective treatment available, about 40 percent of infected people die within days. Using proper protective gear, safe burial protocols, cleansing techniques, and educational outreach, the disease has been slowed in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leoneat least temporarily.
Can researchers develop vaccines quickly enough to prevent new outbreaks? Will Ebola move beyond West Africa? Readers will hear from Ebola survivors, learn what experts say about this devastating disease, and draw their own conclusions about whether another epidemic can be prevented.
About the Author
Connie Goldsmith writes books about history, health, and science for older children. A recently retired RN with a master's degree in health, Ms. Goldsmith lives near Sacramento, California.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 A River in Zaire 9
Chapter 2 The Ebola Virus 19
Chapter 3 From Outbreak to Epidemic 31
Chapter 4 Protecting the Protectors 45
Chapter 5 As the World Watched 59
Chapter 6 Diagnosing the Future 75
Source Notes 97
Selected Bibliography 103
For further information 105