Leading specialist in tropical diseases says : “This virus is so horrible because people do not die like human beings” This deadly virus, for which there is no cure, no vaccination and no possible treatment, apart from nursing care (making the patient feel as comfortable as possible) again appears in central Africa. The symptoms have been described by the Portuguese director of the infectious and contagious disease department of Lisbon’s Medical University Hospital as “worse than AIDS because with AIDS, the patient has years, and these days many years, to live. Even in some cases the patient does not die of AIDS. It can be a chronic and not a critical situation, rather like having diabetes. Ebola, however, is not human. The virus is so horrible that people do not die like human beings. It is medicine’s worst nightmare. Even a touch…and two weeks later the patient is dying one of the most horrible deaths you could ever imagine.” Little is known about the Ebola virus, except that it appears from time to time in central Africa. Nobody knows who or what is its carrier, whether monkeys, bats, rats or birds. The most probable is that it is carried by an organism which is immune to this virus. What is known is that this virus produces the most violent, painful, horrible death anyone could ever imagine : massive haemorrhages from the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, anus, genital organs, even the skin. As the virus travels around the body, it constricts and expands veins and arteries at random, producing instantaneous, massive bleeding. It is so infectious that a simple handshake or touch of the skin is enough to transmit it. What is surprisingly fortunate is that this deadly virus has not yet broken out of central Africa. If it ever does, and Hollywood has already imagined this scenario, it would be mankind’s worst nightmare. “If there was one single case on Ebola in my hospital, you would immediately see a stream of doctors running out of the main door, followed closely by all the nurses and auxiliary staff. We do not play with serious things!” said a British Director of an Intensive Care Unit in north London. “I am not joking,” he added This time, the virus has broken out in northern Uganda, killing 33 people. Many more are expected to die because nursing staff, totally inexperienced in dealing with this virulent disease, did not wear gloves when handling the first patients. After the first wave of Ebola, it is certain that all the people who came into contact with the first patients, normally aid workers and medical staff, contract the disease. This time, again the situation is alarming . “Eighty per cent of the people in this area have family members infected with this virus!”, said Matthew Lukwiya, regional health director. The last time this virus appeared, it killed 245 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, writing the script for a Hollywood film which had the story of a deadly Ebola-like virus reaching the USA. The Ebola virus enters the bloodstream through the skin. The incubation period is 14 days. After this time has elapsed, the patient feels an inflammation of the throat, fever, and then slips into unconsciousness as the body systematically loses blood through massive haemorrhaging. “It is one of the most horrendous deaths a human being could have”, according to a leading specialist in Infectious and Contageous Diseases at the Hospital Curry Cabral, in Lisbon.

Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Correspondent of PRAVDA.Ru Lissabon

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