Recently there's been an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea. The disease made a leap from remote forested areas of the country to the capital, causing widespread fear. At the time of writing, there were 127 confirmed cases, 87 of whom had died. There are further cases outside Guinea in the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, and Liberia. It's been described as an epidemic on a scale never seen before. But what the hell is it?
近來在幾內亞有一波伊波拉病毒的爆發。此疾病從那國家的偏遠森林地區躍進首都，造成漫天恐慌。在撰稿之時，有 127 個確診病例，其中 87 人已經死亡。在幾內亞境外的鄰近國家獅子山共和國以及賴比瑞亞還有更多病例。這被描述成一場規模前所未見的疫情。但伊波拉到底是什麼？
The Ebola virus causes Ebola virus disease, or EVD. It's one of the most virulent diseases known to mankind. Ebola is actually a group of five viruses—Bundibugyo Ebolavirus, Zaire, Reston, Sudan, and Tai Forest. The outbreak in Guinea is one of the most deadly forms—the Zaire strain. The Zaire strain can have a fatality rate of up to 90 percent.
伊波拉病毒造成伊波拉病毒感染病，或稱 EVD。 這是人類所知最致命的疾病之一。伊波拉其實是一組有五個種類的病毒－－邦地布優伊波拉病毒、薩伊伊波拉病毒、雷斯頓伊波拉病毒、蘇丹伊波拉病毒、以及象牙海岸伊波拉病毒。在幾內亞境內爆發的是最致命的種類之一－－薩伊病毒種。薩伊病毒種能有高達百分之九十的致死率。
Ebola was first identified in 1976 with two outbreaks that happened at pretty much the same time. One was in Sudan, and the other was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC outbreak happened near the Ebola River, which is where the disease gets its name. And the most deadly outbreak ever was also in DRC in 1995. That killed 254 people out of a total of 315 infected. That's an 81 percent mortality rate.
伊波拉病毒最早是在 1976 年兩場發生於幾乎同一時間的疫情爆發中被發現。其中一個在蘇丹，另一個則在剛果共和國。剛果共和國的爆發發生在伊波拉河附近，也就是這種疾病得到它名稱的地方。而最為致命的一場疫情爆發也是在 1995 年的剛果共和國內。那殺死總感染人數 315 人中的 254 人。也就是百分之八十一的死亡率。
Ebola is found in fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope, and porcupines, and it passes to humans through close contact with bodily fluids, blood, and the organs of those infected mammals. So one of the main ways that it's introduced to humans is by eating bushmeats—the meat of dead or already ill animals. It's then passed from human to human by direct contact with blood, secretions, organs, and bodily fluid, through broken skin or mucous membranes. If a man is lucky enough to survive Ebola, he can still transmit the disease for up to seven weeks afterwards through his semen. That's why the government in Guinea has warned people against having sex, kissing, or even shaking hands at the moment.
It can also be passed on via a dead body if mourners have contact with the deceased person. Health care workers are at particular risk because of their close contact with patients, and that's why the World Health Organization has sent 3.5 tons of protective materials out to Guinea, which includes biohazard suits, disinfectants, and burial shrouds. Ebola first manifests itself with a sudden fever, weakness, muscular pains, headaches, and sore throats, but that quickly worsens, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and impairment of kidney and liver function. In some cases, internal and external bleeding also occurs. It has an incubation period—that's the time between infection to the onset of symptoms—of just 2 to 21 days.
伊波拉疾病也能經由屍體被傳播，如果送葬者和死者有接觸的話。醫療照護人員因為他們和病人的近距離接觸而處在特別危險的情況中，而那就是為什麼世界衛生組織已經寄送出 3.5 噸的防護物資到幾內亞，其中包含生化防護衣、消毒劑、以及裹屍布。伊波拉最先以一場突然的高燒、虛弱、肌肉疼痛、頭痛、以及喉嚨痛來顯露它自己，但那很快會惡化，伴隨包含嘔吐、腹瀉、起疹子、以及腎功能和肝功能損害的症狀。在一些病例中，體內和體外出血也會發生。伊波拉疾病有一段只有二到二十一天的潛伏期－－也就是感染到症狀發作間的時間。
Death is usually caused by multiple organ failure, shock, or loss of blood, and happens soon after infection. There's currently no vaccine, because it's not being a priority for drugs companies; because it's rare, and generally happens in remote parts of Africa. And if you want to have a discussion about the morals of that in the comments section, please do. But the U.S. is funding the work on a vaccine, because there is no natural human immunity. So it's on their list of potential bio-terror agents.
Now, normally Ebola doesn't spread too far, because it's found in very remote areas of Africa. So quarantining it is relatively easy. The speed with which it kills also limits the virus' ability to spread too far. But this outbreak in the capital of Guinea and with the cross-border spread has got medical experts worried. It's in a dense population area and has spread across the borders in a way that it never has done before, but it's unlikely to travel across continents. First of all, because quarantine procedures are really quite good these days, and partly because the symptoms develop so quickly that people are just too ill for plane travel.
So those are just some of the facts about Ebola, and just in case there's a media frenzy about pandemics and everybody dying, there's a video over there that explains why that's very, very unlikely to happen, and you shouldn't fear anything at all. Bye-bye.
- 「處於危險中」- At Risk
Health care workers are at particular risk because of their close contact with patients...
- 「以防萬一」- Just In Case
So those are just some of the facts about Ebola, and just in case there's a media frenzy about pandemics and everybody dying...