Ebola – What Is It?

Ebola – What Is It?

Ebola is a fatal condition in humans and nonhuman primates. It’s a hemorrhagic fever, caused due to virus of the Filoviridae family.  The five known Ebola virus species are:

  • Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus)
  • Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus)
  • Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
  • Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus)
  • Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), causes disease in pigs and nonhuman primates, but not in people

Ebola can cause fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and bleeding or bruising. These symptoms can start from two to 21 days after exposure.

How Is Ebola Spread?

Ebola is a transmitted disease and can spread from one person to another by direct contact. The virus can spread by touching broken skin or membranes (eyes, mouth, and nose) with a sick person’s body fluids (blood, spit, sweat, pee, poop, semen, etc.).

  • By saliva (kissing or sharing drinks)
  • By animal or insect bites or stings
  • By blood products (i.e., by using uncleaned needles or unscreened blood)
  • By touching a contaminated surface (blanket or doorknob)

Severely ill patients need proper intensive care.

What Are The Symptoms Of Ebola?

Ebola symptoms can start within 2-21 days after exposure, however, 8-10 days is most common. The symptoms of Ebola are:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Some patients may experience:

  • Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Hiccups
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Bleeding inside and outside of the body

The patient is considered infectious as long as the patient’s blood and secretions contain the virus.

How To Treat Ebola?

Currently, there is no FDA approved drug available for Ebola. New vaccines and medicines are being tested to find out if they are safe and effective. The treatment for Ebola includes:

  • Balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes
  • Keeping their blood pressure and oxygen levels to normal
  • Treating a patient for any complicating infections

How To Prevent Ebola?

The chances of getting Ebola is very low if you live in the U.S. or Canada. However, there may be a chance of getting affected by Ebola virus if you travel to West Africa.

As the facts are still unidentified that how individuals are infected with Ebola, so stopping infection is quite difficult. However, an individual can take following measures to prevent transmission:

  • Ensure that all healthcare workers wear protective clothing, such as masks, gowns, and gloves
  • Implement infection-control measures, such as complete equipment sterilization, disposal of needles, and routine use of disinfectant to halt the spread of an outbreak
  • Isolate Ebola patients from contact with unprotected persons

The family members and friends are more prone to get infected with Ebola, as they are exposed to infectious secretions when caring for an ill individual.

“The WHO and the CDC has offered a set of guidelines to help prevent and control the spread of Ebola – Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers In the African Healthcare Setting.

Ebola is rare but deadly disease, if left untreated. Make sure to call a health care provider right away if you or someone in your household has recently traveled to West Africa and are feeling sick.

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