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article imageEbola crisis strikes healthcare workers at unprecedented levels

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By Tim Sandle     Aug 30, 2014 in Health
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are an "unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola.”
Although the treatment of British nurse William Pooley in London has received considerable attention, along with a strong collective hope for his recovery from Ebola, many other health workers have died from the disease.
Whilst many medical professionals have died in Africa, some have been tested with experimental drugs like ZMapp. The effectiveness of ZMapp (Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.) remains uncertain. Although a recent Nature study ("Reversion of advanced Ebola virus disease in nonhuman primates with ZMapp") reported that a set of monkeys infected with Ebola were seemingly cured, it remains that the administration of the drug in human subjects is not always successful. For example, a Liberian doctor who was treated with the experimental serum for Ebola died (according to the BBC). Abraham Borbor, the deputy chief medical doctor at the Liberia’s John F. Kennedy Medical Center, was one of three doctors in the country who received ZMapp. In another case, a Spanish priest who received ZMapp died in Spain shortly after treatment.
On the plus side, however, two American healthcare workers who were treated with ZMapp on U.S. soil have recovered and left the hospital.
These high profile cases partly obscure the impact that Ebola has had on healthcare workers, many of whom have taken considerable personal risks in trying to treat infected people in Africa. According to WHO, more than 240 health care workers have developed Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone; more than 120 have died.
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