First Ebola Break Out in Sudan - 06/27/1976

World History |


On the 28th June 1976, a storekeeper in the Nzara township was doing his daily duties when he fell ill. Nzara township is found in the dry sub Saharan country of Sudan. The store keeper was taken to the hospital, but after five days of ailing he unfortunately passed away. The world went ahead to record the first epidemic of the Ebola virus in the country of Sudan. The epidemic was able to infect 284 people and more than half of that number dying, before the country was able to control and stop the Ebola epidemic. Ebola happens to be one of the most deadly viruses and is able to kill within a short span of time. The other dangerous fact is that it can be spread through air and hence can infect a large population within a short span of time. 

The main symptom of Ebola, which is a hemorrhagic fever starts to show between 4 to 15 days of infection. A normal person infected by the Ebola virus will experience symptoms that are related to the flu, like a high fever, aching of the body, headache and general body weakness. After this the infected person will start suffering from diarrhea, will frequently vomit and then also have eruptions of rashes all over their body. Then comes the painful part where the infected person starts to bleed from any possible and all the body orifices, this in turn leads to internal organ damage. The virus typically dehydrates the body and after the 10 days of dehydration, and exhaustion the infected person finally suffers from shock and dies. The virus gives a very painful death. A second man died on the 6th of July just a few days after the storekeeper from Nzara Township passed on. The man who died on 6th of July had managed to infect his brother with the virus, but luckily his brother did not die and managed to recover completely after falling sick soon. Ironically the co-worker of the dead man’s brother got infected, he was later admitted into the hospital after showing symptoms of flu. The co-worker was admitted to the hospital and passed away within two days. It seems the virus takes different timespan in a person’s immune before finally killing them, or if the immune of an infected person is strong enough to fight back the virus. The coworker had also infected his wife, his wife also died after five days of severe dehydration, exhaustion and finally shock. The infection network seemed to have grown, because a neighbor of the coworker was also infected, who also passed away one week later. From the neighbor the virus was able to infect 48 people and close to 27 deaths of people were traced back to the neighbor. 

The pattern of infection finally managed to get to the hospital staff. Infected hospital workers started developing similar symptoms of the patients who had died of the virus. The doctors discovered that the infection was being transmitted through close contact with an infected person. 61 nurses were infected in the Maridi Hospital located in southern Sudan, and out of the 61 nurses, 33 died from the Ebola fever. The World Health Organization came to help in October and was able to contain the Ebola fever. Isolation of infected people proved to be an effective method of stopping the spread of the fever. The country has experienced several outbreaks of the infection, but scientists have not been able to come up with an explanation for this nor a cure for the virus infection. 

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