Ebola, a frightful disease we used to think was confined to Africa, seems to be getting closer to home.
Wednesday, an emergency room in Charlotte was cordoned off by security while a suspected victim who had just returned from Africa was examined, reports WSOC-TV.
The patient did not have Ebola, thankfully.
Tuesday, two N.C.-based humanitarian groups ordered their workers out of Africa due to the Ebola outbreak. Missionary Nancy Writebol, from Charlotte, is currently hospitalized with the disease in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.
The Peace Corps is also pulling out of West African nations affected most by Ebola — Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
Ebola may be the scariest disease on the planet. First reported in 1976 on the banks of the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is incurable and historically kills about 90 percent of those who contract it.
The virus in typically passed to humans when infected monkeys, fruit bats and other animals are handled. Human-to-human transmission is also possible through contact with infected urine, blood, sweat or saliva, says the World Health Organization.
Early symptoms of the virus include fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain. Within days, patients experience vomiting, stomach pain, and internal and external bleeding, often from the eyes, nose and mouth.
Since 1976, only 2,000 or so patients have died, but 670 of those have died this year, reports The Independent.
The current outbreak, the largest in history, has health officials worried Ebola could become a global threat, writes USA Today.
Health officials in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong are quarantining airline passengers from Africa who have shown symptoms of the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control says Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population because victims have to be in direct contact with someone who is ill to become infected. The virus does not spread in the air like the flu.
The CDC maintains quarantine stations at major airports and agents can forcibly quarantine people with symptoms of Ebola or other infectious diseases.
If Ebola is not frightening enough, there’s flesh-eating bacteria in Florida waters, reports ABC News in Tampa.
The bacteria, vibrio vulnificus, which lives in warm brackish water, has killed 10 people in Florida this year. Last year, 41 people were infected and 11 died. Infections have also been reported in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, says ABC News.
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