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Ebola in West Africa: What Can Be Done?

Summary: With all the news surrounding the situation in the United States, it's easy to lose focus of the major Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the thousands killed by it.
Air Date: 10/24/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Rade B. Vukmir, MD & David C. Pigott, MD
Dr. Rade Vukmir

Rade B. Vukmir, MD, JD, FCCP, FACEP, FACHE, is Chief Clinical Officer for National Guardian Risk Retention Group. Dr. Vukmir is the Chairman of ECI's Education and Risk Management Department. He holds an academic appointment as Professor (Adjunct) of Emergency Medicine at Temple University. He has written extensively about Ebola and infectious disease in general.

He is board-certified in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Dr. Vukmir received medical and legal degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. He completed a residency program in Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, a clinical fellowship in Critical Care at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and a research fellowship in Resuscitation at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research. He is a certified instructor of Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and the Fundamentals of Critical Care Support.

He is the author of 42, peer-reviewed medical journal articles, as well as seven books. He is the recipient of the University of Pittsburgh Affiliated Residency and Emergency Medicine Faculty Excellence Award for 1991 and 1992.

Dr. David Pigott

David C. Pigott, MD, FACEP, is Professor of Emergency Medicine, Vice Chair for Academic Development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Pigott has authored multiple articles and book chapters related to viral hemorrhagic fevers, including the Ebola virus and serves as a manuscript reviewer on viral hemorrhagic fevers for The Lancet.

He is teaching two related courses about Ebola and the U.S. Experience and infectious disease at ACEP's upcoming Scientific Assembly conference in Chicago.
Ebola in West Africa: What Can Be Done?
As we get caught up in the Ebola situation in the United States, it's easy to lose focus of the major Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the thousands killed by it.

When something isn't directly affecting your everyday life, it may be easier to not care as much and look the other way. However, experts believe unless we get a hold on the rampant outbreak in Western Africa, it will be harder to contain and cure in other countries.

Unfortunately, these African countries do not have medical supplies like the U.S and other developed nations, which makes the spreading very hard to contain.

The current outbreak of Ebola is the deadliest since it was first discovered back in 1976. Ebola has claimed the lives of at least 4,877 in West Africa. One patient has died in the U.S, two in Spain and one in Germany.

What drug treatments are available?

Drugs and supplies are limited. This is because when doctors are doing clinical trials on drugs, they don't want to waste equipment due to worries of shelf life and the possibility of the drug being unsuccessful.

Drugs also need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration to ensure their safety to those who would be using it. ZMapp, a drug that was approved for emergency use on two patients in the U.S., has no more doses available.

Administering oral or intravenous fluids can help improve patients infected with Ebola. Currently, other drugs and vaccines are being fast-tracked for safety testing so they can be used in humans.

What else do you need to know about the treatment options that can be used to help contain the virus in West Africa?

Rade B. Vukmir, MD, and David C. Pigott, MD, discuss why the virus in Africa needs to be contained in order for it to stop spreading, and what vaccines are being considered.