Young Children ‘at highest risk of death from Ebola,’ Study Finds
During the Ebola epidemic that is happening now, more than 24,000 people have been infected by the deadly virus, with the majority of these cases taking place in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Throughout this tragic epidemic, the number of children affected by the virus has risen. Of the cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, approximately 4,000 children under age sixteen are infected with Ebola. However, there are no confirmed reasons for this.
A new study conducted by researchers Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and the World Health Organization concluded that Ebola is more deadly for children under the age of five years old rather than older children and adults. The findings from the study revealed that Ebola has killed ninety percent of children under the age of one, and eighty percent of children ranging one from one years old to four. Researchers found that children aged under one have the shortest development period at 6.9 days, whereas children aged between ten and fifteen has an incubation period of 9.8 days. These children, aged 10-15, are most likely to survive the disease, with fifty-two percent of cases in this age group resulting in death.
The symptoms in children infected with Ebola differ than those in adults. Children are more likely to experience a fever, but are less likely to have trouble breathing, hiccups, difficulty in swallowing, and pain in the muscles, joints, chest, or stomach. The symptoms that children develop progress much faster, putting them at a higher risk of dying from the disease.
Before reading this article, I assumed adults were the most at risk for death because of this disease. I did not take into consideration that children’s immune systems are not fully developed and as strong as adults. Also, I did not realize that children are more compromised by the virus because their caregivers may have contracted the virus. With children having a greater risk of death from Ebola, it is understandable that they need and deserve the highest quality medical care. The downfall of this is that not everyone can afford medical care, which makes it difficult for some symptoms to be prevented. I understand that no one can control the outbreak of this virus, but caregivers need to take better precaution.