What Is the Ebola Virus?
Ebola disease—also called Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola fever—is a rare and often fatal illness that humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys and gorillas) can contract. There have been several outbreaks of Ebola fever in Africa. There has never been a reported case of Ebola fever in people in the United States.
The Ebola virus causes Ebola fever. The virus is found in Africa and the Philippines—but, the virus from the Philippines does not cause illness in humans. The virus was named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it was first discovered.
The Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 and has appeared in sporadic outbreaks since then. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 2,265 reported cases of Ebola fever in humans around the world since 1976. Of these, 1,531 resulted in death (CDC, 2012).
@Types of Ebola Virus
There are five subtypes of Ebola virus:
Mode of infection: through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected animal or human. These include blood, saliva, semen, vomit, urine, or feces.
According to the World Health Organization, the person can also get the virus by handling a sick or dead wild animal that has been infected with it
There is some evidence that the Ebola virus can be spread through the air from nonhuman primate to nonhuman primate, such as monkey-to-monkey, in research facilities. No definitive studies have proven this, however.
Symptoms of Ebola Fever:
Incubation period: 21 days. The onset of the illness is rapid. The initial symptoms resemble those of a common flu infection and include:
As Ebola fever progresses, the symptoms become more severe. Late-stage symptoms of Ebola virus may include:
The National Institutes of Health estimate that Ebola fever is fatal in as many as 90 percent of all infected patients (NIH, 2011). The virus infects the liver, destroys the lining of blood vessels, and causes blood clotting problems and loss of blood. Death is usually due to hypovolemic shock because of loss of blood. It is not known why some people survive Ebola fever while others do not.
Diagnosis: Ebola fever is diagnosed using blood tests to detect the Ebola virus from blood sample.
Treatment: There is no cure for Ebola fever. The only available treatments are those meant to help to ease your symptoms. These may include:
One can can lower your risk of becoming infected with the Ebola virus by avoiding locations where it is found, especially during times when there is an outbreak of Ebola fever.
If travel to Africa, avoid handling live or dead wild animals. Some species of animals besides primates may carry the Ebola virus. The African subtypes of the virus have also been found in forest antelope and fruit bats. Also, always be sure to wear special protective clothing (gown, gloves, full face mask and eye goggles) if you are around a person with Ebola fever
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