Key Information About Ebola
Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease most commonly affecting people and nonhuman primates. It is a severe, often fatal disease with a death rate of up to 90 percent.
Ebola was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).
One of the largest Ebola outbreaks began in March 2014. As of March 20, 2016, there were 28,608 reported Ebola cases from this outbreak.
Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in what is now South Sudan, and the other in Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the Filoviridae family, genus Ebolavirus. This virus is spread in the blood, body fluids (like blood, urine, feces, vomit, breast milk, and saliva) or organs of a person or animal with the infection.
It is highly transmissible through person-to-person contact. It can rapidly spread through a population having no preexisting immunity to the virus.
Transmission can also occur through contact with objects contaminated with these fluids and the bodies of the deceased with Ebola.
Ebola is extremely infectious because an infinitesimally small amount can cause the disease.
Laboratory experiments on nonhuman primates suggest that even a single virus may be enough to trigger a fatal infection.
The 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa is thought to have started when an 18-month-old boy from Guinea was infected by bats.
It can take from 2 to 21 days, but usually 8 to 10 days, after infection for signs of Ebola to appear.
Typical signs and symptoms of Ebola virus disease include muscle pain, fever, headache, sore throat, joint pain, weakness and loss of appetite.
Patients will then develop increasingly severe problems like vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Ebola is difficult to diagnose because early signs and symptoms resemble those of other illnesses like typhoid and malaria.
If your doctor suspects you have the disease, he or she will use blood tests to quickly identify the virus.
Ke Du, a faculty-researcher at Rochester Institute of technology has developed a prototype micro device with bio-sensors that can detect the deadly Ebola virus.
Standard treatment for Ebola is limited to supportive therapy, which includes balancing the patient's fluid and electrolytes, maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure, and treating such patients for any complicating infections.
NIAID is advancing research on several investigational Ebola treatments in different stages of development.
Ebola vaccine candidates are currently being evaluated in phase I–III clinical trials conducted in Africa, the EU and the US.
Practice careful hygiene (e.g., wash hands with soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or chlorine solution).
Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids from a person who has or might have Ebola. Do not touch items that have been in contact with a person who has or might have the disease.
While in a region with Ebola, avoid funerals or burial rituals involving touching the dead. Stay away from bats or non-human primates and their meat.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Srikanth R