The Ebola Virus: A Global Threat, Research Paper Example
Words: 2954Research Paper
The Ebola virus and the potential of its application as a weapon of mass destruction by terrorists’ groups will be examined in this research. The origins of the Ebola virus and the symptoms that are demonstrated will be reviewed in this research. The thesis statement that was explored is the potential for a biological attack using Ebola or other biological agents and the state of preparedness of the United States to address this type of assault.
Ebola Virus: A Global Threat
The Ebola virus had become manifest in the latter part of the 1970s. The international medical community perceived the Ebola virus to be the causative attribute of the epidemics of hemorrhagic fever that occurred in the Sudan and the Congo. As soon as the epidemic emerged, the international medical community dispatched teams in order to address the extremely virulent epidemics. The international medical team discovered that the contagion of the epidemic suddenly decreased. Consequently, the medical teams were unsuccessful in reconstructing any information which could be derived from the survivors. The elevated mortality indexes in medical personnel were the reason for the closing of the health care facilities. As a result, the eradication of the practices of spreading the infection by means of the deficiency of barrier nursing approaches, untreated syringes and needles has caused a decrease in the dissemination of the Ebola virus (Jonnson et al., 2015).
The Ebola virus appeared in the United States in 1989. The Ebola virus had been diagnosed in primates. The epidemic in the primates in the United States had been associated with an exporter in the Philippines. It is perceived that the Ebola virus is disseminated by means of contact with bats (Jonnson et al., 2015).
The reemergence of the Ebola virus in humans occurred during the mid-1990s. There have been five active independent locations where the communication of the Ebola virus had been categorized. These locations were Uganda, Zaire, the Republic of Congo, Gabon and the Côte d’Ivoire. There had been more than 9,000 cases of the Ebola virus in the 1990s. More than half of the reported outbreaks resulted in mortality (Radosavljevic, 2013).
The Ebola virus primarily affects the cellular tissue of the reticuloendothelial system, testes, ovaries, kidneys and liver. The primary manifestation of the Ebola virus is the rapid deterioration of the liver. The victims who have been infected by the Ebola virus becomes subject to substantial amounts of hemorrhaging. There have been numerous cases where the victims of the Ebola virus demonstrate severe respiratory dysfunctions and shock. The Ebola virus causes symptoms of delirium. The majority of the Ebola victims suffer mortality from the outcomes of intractable shock (Jonnson et al., 2015).
Studies that have been conducted on the Marburg and Ebola viruses usually are performed in an empirical containment laboratory. This is a category of laboratory which is designated with a biosafety classification of level one. The category of the safety level designation of level one on the biosafety scale has the requisite of applying equipment that is highly specialized. The specialized components are applied in order to deter the distribution of pathogens (Radosavljevic, 2013).
The Ebola virus has demonstrated stability and continues to maintain its infective qualities at a temperature of 20° C. At a temperature of 60° C, the Ebola virus loses its infectious characteristics. The infectious nature of the Ebola virus can also be eradicated by the application of phenolic and hypochlorite disinfectants, beta- propiolactone, lipid solvents and radiation treatments (CDC, 2015). These radiation treatments include emissions from the gamma and ultraviolet spectrums (Jonnson et al., 2015).
There is no present cure that is accessible for the Ebola virus. The best means of limiting the risk of contagion is to apply the approaches which are prevalent in minimizing the potential for the spread of the Ebola virus. Sanitizers containing alcohol should be applied. In addition, hands should be completely cleaned with soap and water. The handling of items which may have been contaminated by the Ebola victims’ bodily fluids or blood should be performed. Bats have been demonstrated to be transmitters of the Ebola virus. In addition, contact with primates should be avoided. Travel to the areas of western Africa where the epidemics have been documented should be avoided (CDC, 2015).
The medical professionals who provide intervention for the Ebola victims should comply with specific procedures in order to ensure that they do not become contaminated. The requisites for the treatment of Ebola victims are protective components. The protective medical gear includes masks, gloves and gowns. Prior to contact with the Ebola patients, the medical personnel should be observant of the necessary sterilization and infection administration methods. Ebola patients must be isolated from other patients in a health care facility. Individuals who have developed antibodies against the Ebola virus can disseminate the virus for a period of three months. The three month period is subsequent to being declared free from the manifestation of the virus (CDC, 2015).
The symptoms which are manifested by Ebola patients are spontaneous bruising and bleeding. These symptoms are accompanied by abdominal distress, muscular discomfort, fatigue, fever weakness, migraines and vomiting. The symptoms that are demonstrated by the Ebola patient are the causal attribute for the rapid contagion of the disease. The symptoms may be demonstrated during a period of two to twenty one days subsequent to being exposed to the Ebola virus (Radosavljevic, 2013).
The pharmaceuticals which include Brincidofovir and Z- Mapp have demonstrated success in the treatment of the Ebola virus. These drugs are in the empirical phase and have the capacity of producing a number of secondary effects. The Ebola survivors have the antibodies that are able to counteract the virus in their immune system for a period of ten years. As a result, the contributions of the Ebola survivors are an integral source for the eradication of the virus. The Ebola victim must have a blood type which corresponds to the antibody donor (Radosavljevic, 2013).
There have been a number of military troops who were killed in the First World War as an outcome of bacteriological warfare. The troops were exposed to the inhalation of a fatal gas which caused their lungs to become seared. As a result, many of the soldiers in World War One perished in excruciating pain (Christian, 2013). The conventional terrorist organizations have a number of motives for the application of pathogens which include Ebola as a biological weapon (Caldwell & Williams, 2012).
In the event that the terrorist organization is adept in the administration of science, weapons can be manufactured which satisfy their agenda. It does not matter if the terrorist organization is seeking as religious, political or social solution. The characteristics which can be contributors to the terrorist organizations’ potential use of pathogens as a biological weapon can vary from the inability of detecting the pathogens, technological availability, ease of distribution and expense (Christian, 2013).
The aspect of biological warfare is a category of warfare that had the potential of causing a high number of mortalities to humans, animals or vegetation. The biological agents may also cause harm to those who are applying them. The biological agents are usually easier to access and develop than other types of weapons of mass destruction. The substances from which the biological agents can be derived are easily accessible (Christian, 2013). There exist specific biological agents which include Brucellosis and Anthrax that are inherent in certain areas. The terrorist can acquire these biological agents simply by taking a journey to where these biological agents are prevalent. The members of the Aum Shinrikyo faction have been documented as having taken a trip to Zaire. The objective of the trip taken by the members of the Aum Shinrikyo faction was to find strains of the Ebola virus to apply in its biological assault program. The biological agents causing diseases capable of elevated levels of mortality had been recently available from suppliers across the globe. Twenty years ago, The ATCC (American Type Culture Collection) conveyed samples of the Anthraxbacteria to Sadaam Hussein’s regime in Iraq (Tuker, 2006).
Considering the increase in information technology, there has also been an enhancement of the information that is accessible with regards to the production of biological weaponry. The information that pertains to the creation of biological weapons can be derived from a variety of articles which only require a scientist to decipher. There have been a number of biological weapons and survival forums on the internet that have been created. These forums can facilitate terrorist organizations with the technology of producing weapons derived from biological agents (Caldwell & Williams, 2012).
Ken Alibek, the director of the biological warfare programs that was maintained by the Soviet Union detailed that the fundamental versions of biological weaponry can be manufactured in a small area by individuals with minimal training. The situation after the Cold War caused many of the Soviet scientists who had training in biological weaponry to lose their employment positions. There are numerous scientists who are available to terrorist organizations that are located on the different continents around the world (Alibek, 1999).
After careful investigation, the scientists in Iraq were able to find which of the strains of Equine encephalitis and Tularemia to apply on an intended assault at Fort Detrick. The expenses associated with the production of biological weapons are much more cost avoidant than the production of chemical weapons. Research has demonstrated that the most cost avoidant version of a nuclear device is estimated at $200 million. The larger programs which have greater destructive capacity can cost up to fifty times as much. Research has demonstrated that terrorist factions could create an arsenal of biological weapons with less than $10,000 of components. Consequently, this causes the threat from biological assaults to the United States to be quite real (Smith, 2013).
The distribution of biological agents to the population is inexpensive. There are diverse methods that can be applied for the delivery of biological agents. The most accessible methods for any terrorist organization would be by means of contaminating the food or water supply. This could be achieved by delivering the biological agents during the food processing stages of the manufacture of nutritional products (Caldwell & Williams, 2012). In 2001, there had been an incident with the dissemination of letters laced with anthrax through the United States Postal Service. The damage that had been caused was assessed to be greater than $1 billion. Research has demonstrated that twenty pounds of anthrax can cause as much damage as a ten thousand ton nuclear device (Cole, 2010).
The reaction of the Department of Defense to the Ebola epidemic has been swift and decisive. Over two thousand three hundred military personnel are involved in the training or personnel in West Africa in order to address the spread of the Ebola epidemic. The Department of Defense has established a hospital in Monrovia, Liberia for the treatment of the Ebola victims. The capacity of the hospital was originally designed to have one hundred beds. The number of mobile laboratories has been enhanced. Presently, there are six ambulatory laboratories that are operating in Liberia. The Department of Defense has contributed almost $385 million to the efforts directed at addressing the Ebola epidemic. The title of the program I has been designated as Operation United Assistance (Department of Defense, 2015).
There are numerous non-governmental organizations which are participants in the West African Ebola relief efforts. As the situation modifies with regards to the intensity of victims in the Ebola West African epidemic, these organization adapt the aid that they provide (CIDI, 2015; Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 2014). The following organizations are involved in the Ebola relief efforts:
- Adventist Health International.
- Adventists Development and Relief Agency.
- Action Aid.
- American Jewish World Services.
- Amref Health Africa.
- American Red Cross.
- Brother’s Brother Foundation.
- Baptist World Alliance.
- CDC Foundation.
- Concern Worldwide.
- ChildFund International.
- CBM (Christian Blind Mission).
- Catholic Relief Services
- CARE USA.
- Doctors of the World.
- Direct Relief.
- Develop Africa.
- Episcopal Relief and Development.
- Friends of the UNFPA (United Nations Populations Fund).
- GOAL Global.
- Global Giving.
- Global Communities.
- Global Health Ministries.
- Giving Children Hope.
- Gbowee Peace Foundation USA
- Heart to Heart International.
- Healey International Relief Foundation.
- International Rescue Committee.
- International Medical Corps.
- IMA World Health.
- John Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.
- More Than Me.
- Medical Teams International.
- MSH (Management Sciences for Health).
- MAP International.
- Mail Health Organizing Project.
- Operation USA.
- Operation Blessing International.
- Net Hope.
- World Vision.
- World Renew.
- World Food Programme USA (WFP).
- Women’s campaign International.
- Water Missions International.
- United Nations Foundation.
- UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).
- UC San Francisco.
- Stop Hunger Now.
- SIM USA.
- Save the Children.
- Salesian Missions.
- Samaritan’s Purse
- Project H.O.P.E.
- Project C.U.R.E.
- Presbyterian Mission Agency.
- PCI (Project Concern International).
- PCI Media Impact.
- Partners in Health (CIDI, 2015).
There are almost seventy distinct organizations which are responding to the Ebola West African epidemic in different capacities (CIDI, 2015). As the relief efforts become more directed, these organizations adapt the relief efforts. The financial donations which are made enable the organizations which are responding to the Ebola epidemic to react with specificity and velocity in the areas that require immediate assistance. Despite the number of NGOs which are assisting in the relief efforts, there are only five associations which are operating Ebola intervention departments. Research has demonstrated that more than 55% of the Ebola cases are derived from burying the victims of Ebola. There are a number of NGOs which provide instruction in safe burial procedures (Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 2014).
There are other NGOs which are directed at community outreach programs in Western Africa. In addition, there are relief organizations which are providing the peripheral services that are required by the residents. These peripheral relief services include the provision of nutritional items, psychological and social counseling in addition to educational needs. Many of the NGOs endeavor with local governments that are too decimated to assist the local residents. There are collaborative endeavors between the NGOs. Plan International is operating neighborhood outreach programs which direct the victims to the Ebola clinic operated by the International Medical Corps. The Ebola clinic was constructed by the Save the Children foundation. The Doctors without Frontiers are endeavoring with what has been designated as the Ebola tribe. This humanitarian work is being conducted in order to ensure that the members of the community are not harmed as a result of the misperceptions about the Ebola virus (Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 2014).
DoD and IGO Participation
The United States in conjunction with the African commands have established Ebola relief centers in Monrovia in order to expedite the movement of supplies. In addition, to the initiatives that have been launched by the Department of Defense of the USA, there are a number of international relief organizations which are coordinating their efforts with the United Nations’ organizations. There are over one hundred personnel from the CDC who are assisting in the training of personnel to address the Ebola crisis in Africa. The main objective of the international governmental organizations has been to administrate the Ebola outbreak at the source. In addition, the IGOs are responsible for decreasing the damaging influence of the secondary effects. Furthermore, the goal of the IGOs is to communicate the progress of the efforts with the global media. The most important endeavor of the international government organizations is to increase the efficiency of the global health care infrastructure (White House, 2014).
Department of Defense’s Contingency Response
The Defensive Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been at the cutting edge of the production of prototype vaccines. The DTRA is working in collaboration with the Joint Programme Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defensive initiatives in the USA, in conjunction with the BARDA and the NIAID. These organizations endeavor in the primary prototypes. These organizations are seeking the most effective manner to combat the Ebola virus should the epidemic spread beyond the containment region. During the past five years, the agency has produced more than seventy biological assays which are designed to distinguish nineteen distinct pathogens. The assays have received clearance for consumption by the FDA. These treatments may be applied to the public in the event of widespread emergency contagion in the USA (Crown, 2015; Pellerin, 2014).
The Ebola virus has been disseminating in Africa since the latter part of the 1970s. The Ebola virus made resurgence in the late 1980s. The resurgence had been in the form of a virus that was distributed by primates. The present virus has decimated the resources of the Western African nations. Consequently, the Department of Defense has intervened with a number of initiatives. The United Nations is also involved in the initiatives. The Department of Defense and the United nations serve to coordinate the efforts of the NGOs who are providing humanitarian aid in the region. There is hope that a cure for Ebola may be discovered.
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