08This assessment was made by Dr. Daniel Varga, who is the chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources and seemed to give a summation of the serious concern given the current scare of Ebola. Staff working in Dallas at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital had to face this challenge as they went through serious struggles in September as they tried their best to handle the case of the first Ebola patient on American soil, Thomas Eric Duncan. The Liberian national unfortunately succumbed to the illness on October 8 this year.

The challenges of managing Ebola

So the main problem was the lack of rapid and accurate tests for Ebola even when the disease was in its symptomatic stages. According to Varga, the hospital where the patient was admitted was well equipped and prepared to take good care of any patient who was diagnosed with this disease. The only problem that the staff faced was not being able to detect the infection and diagnose it.

To make things worse, matters were further complicated by the first symptoms of Ebola- diarrhea, high fever, vomiting, and headache- which are much similar to that of other infectious illness like influenza. And considering that another flu season is expected to start in US, the worry is how the common American person will be able to know if he is suffering from Ebola or just a common bug.

Why diagnosing Ebola is so difficult

Right now, there is no test, which can be able to differentiate this within just few minutes. To start with, no test exists at all that can help determine a person is infected with Ebola if they have no symptoms. The incubation period of Ebola is essentially between 2 and 21 days and right now, nothing is currently available to effectively pick the infection up before this happens. In fact, for an infectious disease, pre- symptomatic diagnosis can be just a holy grail. It would even be very great if they have it for influenza and Ebola and other infectious diseases as this would help intervene fast. This is one of the things that most people are researching but this kind of screening is still in the infancy stages.

So, what happens after the symptoms start appearing like in the case of Duncan? Again, there is also no speedy test available for Ebola yet. What this means is that distinguishing Ebola from influenza is quite a difficult task. Currently, there is no simple and fast test for Ebola is available since it hasn’t been demanded. Nobody until now was ready to spend his money to ensure that a commercial rapid test was available out there. What exists currently is PCR, a type of DNA analysis, which helps in identifying fingerprints for various infectious diseases