An experimental Ebola serum that was thought to cure the deadly disease is causing bigger, more deadly issues. While the effects had been originally contained to specific Ebola hospitals in West Africa, patients who were thought to be well from the treatment have carried the problem overseas.
About two months ago the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put out a new, stronger Ebola serum hoping to stem the tide of infection. Unfortunately during initial trials, scientists did not recognize that the new serum mutates the virus rather than kills it. As a result, survivors treated with the serum seemed to recover from the initial infection and become healthy. About three weeks after the initial recovery, patients began showing Ebola-like symptoms again, eventually succumbing to symptoms. After bodies were taken to the morgue, deceased patients and interns started turning up missing from the morgue.
Dr. Jason Hyde, epidemiologist, specialist in Ebola and federal aid worker, was one of the first doctors in West Africa to realize something was going on with patients treated with the new drug. Hyde has been studying samples from reanimated patients treated with the new serum and his observations led him to believe that the new serum is mutating the virus, not eliminating it. The mutated virus attacks the nervous system, eventually taking over and using the host to further spread the mutated Ebola virus.
“By the time we realized what was happening to those who received this new serum, it was too late,” Hyde said. “We gave thousands of patients the serum because we assumed it would work. We had no reason to expect adverse side effects like this.”
Due to this new mutation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned anyone from entering the United States. Already there have been 200 confirmed cases of people becoming infected. According to Hyde, the mutated Ebola virus is transferred in bodily fluids and makes those infected very aggressive.
Johns Hopkins is a specialist with the World Health Organization. Along with Hyde, Hopkins has been studying patients infected with the new disease.
“This looks very similar to zombie outbreaks in movies and literature,” Hopkins said. “By my observations, though, those infected with the mutated Ebola virus are not necessarily precisely like movie zombies. Often they move slowly and very haltingly, but their movements become more fluid as the virus more completely infects the nervous system. The infected pose little threat in early stages, but can become quite a formidable threat in later stages.”
There have been 100 confirmed cases of infection in Utah, with a handful in every major city. In an effort to stop the disease from spreading, all public school and college classes have been canceled until further notice to prevent the spread of disease. Students are encouraged to take shelter and stay indoors until further notice.
Sheena Hall with the Utah Public Health Department encourages everyone to stay calm, stock up on food and water and for personal safety, do not approach infected individuals.
“People may be curious about them because of shows like ‘The Walking Dead,’ but they are dangerous and everyone needs to protect themselves,” Hall said.
Clarification: None of the facts you have read are true. Happy April Fool’s Day.