Ebola as a weapon

Because the incubation period may last ten days while the infected victim may not even be aware of any illness, the virus is highly contagious. Then what begins like typical flu symptoms of fever, later vomiting as the virus spreads rapidly inside the body causing people to succumb often within days of its onset. Victims literally die from internal bleeding that in the final stages can flow out of every orifice. It has the trappings of a ghastly zombie science fiction nightmare come true.

Although deadly, natural Ebola is rapidly killed by sunlight. This makes it less than ideal for biological warfare. However the variant of Ebola called the Marburg virus was developed by the Soviets and it may be that this strain is more hardy. Too, work has been done by the Soviets in transferring parts of the Ebola virus into the composition of Smallpox and other diseases. If such experiments succeed, then such a strain might be suitable for terrorism.

Though the World Health Organization (WHO) has called this outbreak “the most challenging ever” that requires a concerted global response, the agency is accused of failing to respond adequately. Indeed, one needs to be extremely cautious because with every infection the Ebola virus gets a better chance to adapt to human bodies. In fact, the current Ebola outbreak is said to be four times as large as the previous largest attack recorded anywhere on globe.

There is no standard treatment (other than isolating the infected and quarantining those at risk). Nor is there yet an official vaccine, although Reuters just announced that as early as next month the US government will commence testing an experimental Ebola vaccine on humans after positive results were found on primates. It has been reported that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) infectious disease unit and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be running vaccine trials “as quickly as possible.”

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