*THE PANDEMIC THAT SHOCKED THE WORLD* - EHF
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
The pandemic that shocked us!
On March 24th of 2014 the CDC (Center For Disease Control) announced an epidemic that broke out in Africa and along with it took the lives of 59 people in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This virus is known as the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. Some people may have heard of this virus and some may have not, but the Ebola virus was named after a river in Zaire (aka: The Congo River). The virus lives in the deep forests of Central Africa, and can infect people who live there or hunt there. The Ebola virus is found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo and not only there but also in the Philippines. Now for the molecular portion of this virus, so the family Filoviridae consists of two genera, the Ebola and Marburg viruses, which are among the most virulent pathogens in humans.
So now let's talk a little more in depth about this deadly virus and see exactly how much we know about it. Ebola itself has a usual length of 920 nm and a diameter of 80 nm. The virus is considered being bio-hazardous at the level 4 and is only dealt with in the most sterile surroundings in totally secure suiting. Ebola is extended by means of direct contact with blood cells or other bodily release of contaminated people. The vast majority of diseased people are not capable of developing adequate immune responses. In most cases it is connected to the virus’s infection of the fibroblastic reticular system that plays a crucial role in immune system improvement. As for the Marburg virus, it's a rare and acute infectious hemorrhagic viral fever which affects both human and nonhuman primates and of course it's considered to be a level 4 on the biosafety scale which means there are certainly no antiviral drugs or vaccines for this disease.
Let's talk a little bit about the transmission of this deadly virus and how this gets around from people - As I've read and researched according to the CDC, scientists believe that first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys - and bats are not exactly the most friendly animals), and that is called a spillover event. It's not clear exactly where the virus starts. Not only through bats and monkeys but also gorillas, porcupines and forest antelopes. So a person to person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected people. Another effect of the deficiency of sufficiently activated T-cells is apoptosis of blood leukocytes. In some past Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates. The victim looses vast amounts of blood especially in mucosa, abdomen, pericardium and the vagina. Capillary leakage and bleeding leads to a massive loss in intravascular volume. When a person has passed away from this deadly virus, proper precautions are taken in order to make sure that no one else gets sick. A proper dressed person with PPE comes with leak proof body bag and puts the patient in there and afterwards they bury patient and/or they are burned. In fatal cases, shock and acute respiratory disorder can also be seen along with the bleeding.The CDC has also reported that when an infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread to others through direct contact:
**According to the CDC** Ebola is transmitted through these ways:
- blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk) of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola (dead bodies)
- objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with body fluids from a person who is sick with Ebola or the body of a person who has died from Ebola
- possibly from contact with semen from a man who has recovered from Ebola (for example, by having oral, vaginal, or anal sex)
- The CDC has clearly state that Ebola is NOT spread through the air, by water, or in general, by food, however in Africa it could be spread through bushmeat and contact with infected bats.
- Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick
With that being said now let's talk about the signs and symptoms of Ebola:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Bloody Urine/ Diarrhea
- Severe weight loss
- Stomach pain
- Chest pain
- Red eyes
- Bleeding from let's say the ear, nose, mouth or rectum
Did you know that patients who overcame infection by Ebola were capable of developing stronger antibody responses at the early stages of the infection than patients who suddenly resorted to the disease and not only that but they develop an immune system so strong that their immune system is pretty much immune for 10 years! Now that is crazy! It should be mentioned that all tests are performed in the most rigorous laboratory conditions aiming to secure scientists and patients. The preventive methods of Ebola HF in Africa face numerous challenges. It happens, since the originality and location of the natural reservoir of Ebola virus are unexplored. Consequently, there are only few minor established initial preventive measures.
The CDC and WHO (World Health Organization) has been working hard with their volunteers and doctors in Africa in order to get rid of this virus this whole year in Sierra Leone and other surrounding countries that were infected with this virus. Ebola and its closely related viruses are causing deaths all over undeveloped countries. Ebola has one of the highest mortality rates of all viruses. New research and new ideas will contribute to a cure. Scientists are hopeful that further outbreaks of Ebola such as Zaire and Sudan can be avoided As long as simple safety precautions are taken we will not be sick or infected with Ebola. Hopefully Ebola will soon take it's place among the defeated viruses of the world.
If you have any of these signs and symptoms and they seem to be getting worst, visit your MD and let them know.
Many credits given to: Center For Disease Control and Prevention --- www.cdc.org and also to the World Health Organization (WHO) --- www.who.int