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Ebola Control Suffers from Lack of Fast Detection Tool
Original article from: USA Today posted on August 15, 2014. By Karen Weintraub
Early in August, when doctors worried that a patient at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York had Ebola, it took nearly three days to confirm that he didn’t. And that was in one of the richest, most medically advanced cities in the world.
In Sierra Leone and neighboring Liberia, local hospitals have closed because no one can tell the difference between early Ebola and other common ailments. This means no one is getting care for other illnesses like malaria and the even deadlier Lassa fever, multiplying the misery there.
Detection will become particularly crucial when drugs are available to treat the virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in four West African nations since late last year. No one will want to waste scarce medications on someone unless they are convinced the person has Ebola, said John Connor, a microbiologist at Boston University. and the drugs are more effective the earlier they are given.