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There's No Ebola Cure, But Early Intensive Treatment Boosts Survival
Date:8/1/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Ebola virus currently raging in West Africa has a well-earned reputation as one of the world's most deadly illnesses. But experts stress that early and intense medical care can greatly improve a person's chances of survival.

There's no cure or vaccine for Ebola, which wreaks life-threatening havoc within the body by attacking multiple organ systems at the same time.

Instead, doctors must fall back on the basics of "good meticulous intensive care," supporting the patient and targeting treatment toward the organs that are under attack by the virus, explained Dr. Lee Norman, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Hospital and an expert on the disease.

"You treat the things that are failing," Norman said. "If a person is dehydrated, you treat them with IV fluid support. If a person has respiratory failure, you put them on a ventilator."

Such medical care has so far helped two American aid workers currently fighting for their lives in Liberia. Each became infected with Ebola while helping stricken patients in the West African nation.

The condition of the two American patients changes day to day. Earlier this week both Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were reported by the Associated Press to have improved "slightly." But an update Thursday from Samaritan's Purse said that Brantly's condition has "taken a slight turn for the worse overnight," ABC News reported.

Brantly, 33, is a family physician from Texas who serves as medical director of the Samaritan's Purse treatment center in Liberia's capital city, Monrovia. Writebol is a hygienist who works for a group allied with Samaritan's Purse.

Ebola currently is raging through the West African nations
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