Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

Know About Ebola

Ebola virus diseases were earlier known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever and are caused by the virus belonging to Filoviridae family. This is a disease known to spread from animals to humans. The RNA virus infects the wild animals such as gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and fruit bats and can also spread to humans. According to World Health Organization, this disease is transmitted through direct contact with the body fluids such as blood, secretions and organs of an infected animal or person. Migratory populations are most likely to get the infection and they may transmit the Ebola virus.

Early Symptoms

The early symptoms may appear one week after the virus infects your body. The symptoms include headache, fever, rashes, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, body ache, cough, etc. It is difficult to identify the disease in the early stages as the early symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other diseases. The diagnosis is usually made on the basis of tests for antibodies against viral DNA and Ebola.

Later Symptoms

Within a few days of the patient expressing the early symptoms, the later symptoms appear. Later symptoms include: impaired liver and kidney functions, redness of the eye due to internal and external bleeding, bloody vomit and bloody diarrhea, etc. The patient may experience cardiovascular collapse and finally death.

Who Is At Risk?

The persons with high risk of Ebola infection are family members of the infected persons and the health workers who is in close contact with infected individuals and mourners of the deceased person who have direct contact with the body. People who are handling the meat of the infected animals are also at the risk of exposure to the virus.

The Countries Affected By the Virus

The present Ebola virus outbreak is the largest outbreak reported and is mainly limited to West Africa. The African countries like Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Libya has reported more than 1600 cases of Ebola till August 2014. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises to avoid all “nonessential” travel to these West African countries.

The following are some of the most important facts that you should know about the deadly Ebola virus.

1.    Ebola Has Higher Fatality Rate

According to the data of World Health Organization, the humans affected by Ebola virus had to succumb to this deadly virus. There are a total of 1,711 cases that have been reported in the present Ebola virus outbreak, out of which 932 people have died because of this virus. All these deaths have been confirmed in Africa. There are chances that foreign nationals who have visited Africa in the recent months could also be a carrier of this deadly virus.
There are reports that even health workers who are treating patients suffering from Ebola to be infected by the virus due to skin contact. Dr. Sheik Umar Khan the head of Ebola virus treatment in Sierra Leone and Dr. Samuel Brisbane, the head of Ebola treatment in Liberia have died recently treating patients suffering from Ebola disease. So, the Ebola virus is a fatal and deadly virus.

2.    No Vaccine Yet To Prevent Ebola

The vaccines to prevent the Ebola infections have yet to be tested on humans. The main reason behind this is that there would no person who is willing to get injected with the Ebola vaccines to find out whether he or she does not catch the infection. The vaccines that have been developed so far have found to be very effective in preventing Ebola infections in animals. The research on apes have not been done in a progressive manner, owing to greater restrictions in injecting the vaccine on the apes because of the dwindling ape population and the chances of the apes getting extinct soon.

3.    No Cure For Ebola

At present, there is no cure for the Ebola disease. The best treatment that can be given to a person affected by Ebola is intensive supported care by health workers. This can be provided to patients in hospitals under strict and stringent infection control procedures. A health worker is advised to be completed covered from head to toe when dealing with Ebola patients or else they can easily get affected by the Ebola virus just by a skin contact.

4.    Medications For Ebola Are Still Under Development

There is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved treatments in place for Ebola disease. There is a drug known as ZMapp that was developed in 2014 that is currently being used to treat a couple of American health workers who were infected by the Ebola virus during their stay in Liberia. The drug is an antibody based medication that is produced from plants. There is no experimental theory to prove its effectiveness on Ebola as well as whether the drug is safe for humans or not.

5.    Visitors And Tourists To Infected Countries Are At Low Risk

If you need to visit the Ebola virus affected countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria or Guinea, then the risk that you too will be affected by the Ebola virus is extremely low. The risk of you catching the deadly Ebola infection is extremely low, even if you happen to visit the local areas where the first cases of Ebola were reported. But, it is better to be cautious and try to avoid visiting these cities and do so if it is really necessary.

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