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Ebola Virus - Ebola Virus Outbreak

Updated on September 2, 2014

Ebola Virus

The Ebola virus is a highly deadly and rare virus. The virus causes bleeding on the inside and outside of the body. When an individual contracts the Ebola virus there is a 90% chance of death. Symptoms of the Ebola Virus usually occur within two to three weeks of contracting the disease. Symptoms may include fever, throat and muscle pains, nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, a decreased function in liver and kidney functions. It is at this time that people may begin bleeding. As the virus spreads through the body it quickly damages the immune system and other organs. The virus causes the blood clotting cells in a human's body to fall dramatically which leads to severe bleeding.

Eventually all infected individuals will exhibit some form of bleeding from mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose, and the gastric tract.

How Do You Catch the Virus?

The Ebola Virus is spread through bodily fluids and blood of an infected person or animal. It is possible that the disease is carried by fruit bats. Somehow the fruit bats are unaffected by the deadly virus. It is believed that the virus gets passed from monkeys, to pigs, to humans.

Infected individuals can pass the virus through sneezing, coughing, and even in death. Individuals often contract the virus when burying individuals that have died from the virus. The virus can also be contracted by touching a contaminated surface such as a door knob, counter top, etc.. that an infected individual's bodily fluids have contaminated.

Where is the Ebola Virus

At this time Ebola outbreaks have only occurred in small villages in Africa and some cities in the African nation. However, the virus can be passed from person to person so there is a possibility that the virus could cross into other countries if the virus is contracted by a traveler. The United States does have precautions in place that test individuals coming from countries where they may have contracted the virus prior to entering the population of the United States.

Airplane crews are also trained to spot symptoms of the Ebola virus and to quarantine anyone who seems like they may have contracted the virus.

How is the Ebola Virus Treated?

Right now there is no cure for the Ebola Virus. The most doctors can do is to help manage a patients pain and discomfort during the duration of the disease. Most patients will die from the virus but just a small percent will survive. Patients will receive fluids and electrolytes through a vein to fight the effects of dehydration. Doctors will also give patients anticoagulants early in the infections days, however later in the infection doctors will procoagulants to help stop hemorrhaging. Doctor's also provide oxygen to the patient and try to keep the patient's pain down to as minimal as possible. A doctor's hands are tied and all they can do is hope the patient will pull through.

There is no current vaccine to prevent the outbreak of the Ebola Virus.

Ebola Virus Prevention

Upon discovering that an individual has contracted the Ebola disease, government officials are quick to initiate a quarantine. Since most of the outbreaks occur in small villages in Africa, the disease is often easily contained due to the lack of roads and technology for people to use to spread the disease. In most quarantine situations the first precautions taken is the stopping of needle sharing, isolating patients, and strict nursing and doctoral barrier procedures such as using high rated disposable gloves, masks, and gowns.

Several Outbreaks

1976: Ebola Outbreak in in Sudan and Zaire. The virus was named after the Ebola River, where the virus was first discovered. There were 602 reported cases of the Ebola viruses, 431 of the patients who contracted the virus died.

1989: In the United States (Reston, Virginia) monkey imported from the Philippines are found to be infected with the disease.

1995: Democratic Republic of the Congo- 315 reported cases of the Ebola Virus, 250 of those cases resulted in death.

2000-2001: Uganda - 425 reported cases of the Ebola Virus, 224 of those cases resulted in death

2001-2002: Border of Gabon and Republic of the Congo: 96 confirmed deaths from the virus

Dec. 2002- April 2003: Republic of the Congo: 143 reported cases, 128 deaths caused by the virus

2007: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda: 413 Ebola virus cases reported, 224 deaths

2008: Philippines: 5 humans who work on a pig farm contract the disease

2014: Most Ebola outbreaks happen in remote areas. However this particular outbreak occurred in Sierra Leon and has been identified in 60 other locations including: Liberia, Nigeria, New Guinea. The 2014 outbreak is the largest Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 1,552 people and infected over 3,069 individuals. Two American Aid workers contracted the disease while offering aide in the affected countries. Several doctors and nurses contracted and died from the disease during this outbreak.

2014 News Update

There have been three patients that have been tested at a hospital in New York City for the Ebola Virus. Two of the three patients have come back negative for Ebola. However, one patient who recently traveled to West Africa, has been experiencing symptoms similar to that of the Ebola Virus. If the individual in New York City does indeed have Ebola, we may have a mass epidemic on our hands in the states.

As of August 11, 2014 all tests done on patients in the New York hospitals have come back negative.

Other news, the two Americans who contracted Ebola Virus while working in West Africa have been brought home for treatment in the United States. The two Americans received an experimental serum for the virus and both are responding well to the serum and their conditions are improving. However, the experimental serum remains out of the hands of the sufferers in West Africa, and now more 1000 people have died.

The Trial drug that was given to two American doctors is now being sent over to Liberia. After moral ethics was called into play by other nations and by West Africa, the US government has sent doses of the same drug given to the two American doctors to ailing patients in Liberia. The drug is called ZMapp and is in its early stages of development but world outcries have been heard and the small amounts of the medicine that the ZMapp makers had are now in the process of going over seas to Liberia.

Ebola Outbreak Out Of Control

The CDC is warning all nations in the world that the Ebola virus is spiraling further out of control and that over 20,000 individuals may die before the virus is under control. Forty percent of the current population infected with the Ebola virus have been infected in the last few weeks of August 2014. This means that the current death toll will continue to right drastically.

The CDC released this chart showing how drastically the cases of the Ebola virus has risen during the last few weeks of August.
The CDC released this chart showing how drastically the cases of the Ebola virus has risen during the last few weeks of August.


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