SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – It’s been called a merciless, tragic, and deadly disease. The Ebola Virus has been killing people in Africa for four decades, but the disease has recently claimed more lives than ever before.
According to Dr. Andrew Artenstein, Chair of Medicine at Baystate Hospital, it’s taken the lives of hundreds in Africa, this year alone. “It tends to be a very high fatality rate,” he said adding that “we don’t have any specific treatment for this virus at the moment.”
U.S. health officials have issued a travel warning for the infected areas, hoping to keep the virus out of the country as scientists continue working on a treatment for the rapidly spreading disease.
The current outbreak is the largest seen since the disease first emerged in Africa, nearly 40 years ago. Dr. Artenstein told 22News that residents shouldn’t be too concerned. “There’s really no risk, for folks here in the United States,” he said.
The U.S. State Department and Center for Disease Control and Prevention are working on bringing two infected American doctors home from Liberia, which could work against efforts to stop the disease from spreading.
Christine Allis of Springfield believes treating them in the U.S. is the right thing to do. “They’re American citizens I don’t see why they shouldn’t have the full benefit of our health care system,” she said.
Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is expecting one of the Americans to be transferred to their State-of-the-art Isolation Unit within the next several days.
The isolation unit is one of only four such facilities in the country. Ebola symptoms include headache, fever, weakness, confusion and can lead to death.