There is a reason why Ebola virus epidemic is causing worldwide concern. The Ebola virus is the cause of the new deadliest infectious disease. The Ebola disease is the largest epidemic outbreak which has claimed hundreds of lives and is spreading fast which has caused main concern worldwide.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers which are contagious like Marburg, MERS and SARS. However Ebola virus is the deadliest among them with high fatality rate. It is a severe, contagious and often fatal disease when contacted with humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ebola outbreak of 2014 is considered the one of the largest Ebola epidemic outbreak in history and first in West Africa.
International organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who is working along with other U.S governmental agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission have donated funds and is working with other domestic and international partners to counter the Ebola outbreak. The charities such as Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are also working for this cause.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set in motion its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to help in organize technical assistance with the help of public health experts and coordinate activities with partner agencies.
The cause for concern is expanding as undetected chains of transmission of Ebola virus are rising. Bart Janssens, director of operations for Médecins Sans Frontières, said in an interview, “It’s absolutely not under control, and the situation keeps worsening. … There are many places where people are infected but we don’t know about it.”
There is a worldwide need to be aware of the symptoms, facts and cause for infection of the Ebola virus as greater awareness would lead to better prevention mechanisms and containment of the outbreak to other countries.
The top 10 facts we know so far about the Ebola virus are as follows in decreasing order:
10. What is the possibility for the Ebola virus outbreak in India?
Ebola virus has not reached India as there are no cases of Ebola yet reported nor has any death due to Ebola virus has been reported. People living in poor conditions and without any proper medical help are at risk of getting infected.
However warnings against spread of virus have been issued and an alarm has been generated with instructions to avoid travelling to affected West African countries which has an epidemic growth of Ebola virus.
9. What are the preventive mechanisms for the Ebola virus?
Since there is no cure for the Ebola virus the only way to stop and prevent the infection of the Ebola virus is to wear protective clothing such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles. Since the doctors, nurses, Physicists and family members of the infected patient are the most vulnerable for transmission of the virus. There is a need for the use of infection-control measures such as complete sterilization of equipment and routine use of disinfectant which is needed so that any contact with bodily fluids with the infected person can be avoided. World Health Organizations with other international bodies has helped in giving aid and stated that there is a need to provide isolation chambers for Ebola HF patients to prevent contact with unprotected persons and monitor them and start rehabilitation accordingly.
8. What is the Treatment for the Ebola virus infection?
There is no cure for Ebola virus available and found till date. However early detection of the infection may help to slow down the growth of the infection. The treatment of the Ebola virus is mostly restricted to supportive therapy which according to the Center for the Disease Control (CDC) includes balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes, maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure and treating them for any complicating infections.
7. How should the infected person be diagnosed?
The infected person should first be properly tested for the Ebola virus as the early symptoms can also be disguised as symptoms for other diseases. However if the patient is tested positive for carrying the Ebola virus the Public Health Officials should be notified and the patients should be separated and isolated from others except doctors so that the virus should not spread to others and cause further infection.
6. What are the symptoms suffered by the infected person of the Ebola Virus?
According to the Centre for the Disease Control (CDS) the infected person of the Ebola HF virus suffers from Fever, Headache, Joint and muscle aches, Weakness, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Stomach pain and Lack of appetite. Some patients may also experience Rashes, Red Eyes, Cough, Sore throat, Chest pain, Difficulty in breathing, Difficulty in swallowing, Bleeding inside and outside of the body. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola virus though 8-10 days is most common. There is evidence that some patients recover and some don’t. However there is no certainty to determine the survival outcome.
5. How does the Ebola virus spread?
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ebola virus can be spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person or through the exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated with secretions or bodily fluids of the infected person.
The family and friends, and doctors or physicists of the infected persons are the most vulnerable to get affected with the virus as they are most susceptible to get in contact with the bodily fluids or infectious secretions from the infected patient.
The doctors or physicists are also the most susceptible to transfer of Ebola virus from infected patients hence they are advised to wear protected gear such as masks, gowns, gloves etc to prevent transmission of Ebola virus.
4. Why is there a scare for an epidemic?
Ebola virus is highly contagious virus and is growing fast. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and often fatal illness in humans whose outbreak has the fatality rate up to 90 per cent.
Ebola virus is also very difficult to contain as agencies has to deal with not only few resources to help them stop an epidemic but they also have to battle with the local beliefs and myths of spread of Ebola viruses which makes the physicians difficult to treat the patients.
3. What is the origin of Ebola Virus?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter outbreak was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
Originally scientists believed that Ebola virus was originated in Gorillas and then was transferred in human through the consumption of their meat. However scientists later ruled out this theory as it was found that primates like gorilla were more likely to die from the virus than humans.
Scientists now believe that Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus wherein they have gotten contact with the virus and have spread it among humans.
2. Where is the current outbreak of Ebola virus confined to?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus outbreak has been widely spreading into the countries of West Africa. The countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria have reported the large amount of cases of Ebola viruses where according to the WHO fact sheet there has been report of 2,473 cases of Ebola as of August 20, 2014. Currently the Ebola epidemic is consists only in Africa. There is no cases of Ebola yet reported in the United States.
1. What is Ebola Virus?
The disease Ebola is caused by infection with a virus genus Ebolavirus which is a member of the Filoviridae family.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), There are five identified subspecies of Ebolavirus. Four of the five have caused disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaireebolavirus)or EBOV; Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus) or SUDV ; Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus) or TAFV; and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus) or BDBV. The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus) or RESTV, has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV have been associated with large EVD outbreaks in Africa, whereas RESTV and TAFV have not. The RESTV species, found in Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, can infect humans, but no illness or death in humans from this species has been reported to date.