01. What is Ebola?
Ebola disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola is a severe viral disease caused by an RNA virus, the Ebola virus.
The first case of Ebola disease or Ebola hemorrhagic fever was reported in Democratic Republic of Congo at 1976. The disease is widespread in West Africa with 14, 413 victims are reported till to date, half of these are died short after the appearance of sign and symptoms of Ebola disease. Ebola disease is the major health concerns for many Governments around the world for which they developed strict planning to prevent Ebola outbreaks in their countries.
02. How Ebola transmitted
Although it is known that human is not the natural host of Ebola virus but it is not totally clear that which specie is the natural host for Ebola virus and how the disease is transmitted to human. Scientist believes that the virus of Ebola disease is transmitted to human by contact with wild infected animals. A group of scientists believe that this disease might spread from chimpanzees, forest antelopes, or cynomolgus monkeys by having contact with them or by eating their brain while most of other believes that the virus is transmitted from fruit bats by their bits or eating their meat as food (bushmeat).
During outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, the person to person spear of disease can occurs as a result of direct contact with the infected person’s (or the one who died from the disease) body fluids including blood, semen, sweat, vomit, spit, feces and urine. The entry points for the virus to the body of host including mouth, nose, eyes, skin breakdown & cuts, open wounds and abrasion.
Contact with contaminated objects (medical equipment, syringes, needles) and infected animals can too transmit the Ebola virus to healthy host.
03. Symptoms of Ebola
Like most Viral diseases, the initial symptoms of Ebola disease are quite similar to common cold or flu i.e. headache, body aches, muscle ache, sore throat, intense weakness & exhaustion and fever, making Ebola difficult to diagnose. Later it affects gastrointestinal system and patient develops diarrhea, vomiting, severe gastrointestinal pain, altered liver and kidney functions
This course of disease is followed by goriest part when the disease turned into hemorrhagic fever and the victim started internal bleeding, have bloody diarrhea, vomit blood, develop bruises as well as spontaneous bleeding from eyes, ears and the skin turned into blisters. Not all but most of the cases died shortly once the disease turned to hemorrhagic fever due to cardiovascular collapse and shock.
The incubation period of the Ebola disease, means the time it took to develop sign and symptoms of disease after being infected with virus is 2 to 21 days.
04. Ebola Vaccine
Till to date, there is no any vaccine exist to prevent people to become infected with Ebola disease but governments are looking for the prevention of disease by funding public health officials and sinking millions of dollars for the research and development process of vaccine. Trials of vaccine on human are underway however animal study show positive progress. Some vaccines tried on monkeys have shown great results and prevented the monkeys to become infected with Ebola virus and even cure some already infected monkeys. But for now you have to follow the preventive measured and guidelines as instructed by government to lower the risk of infection.
05. Treatment of Ebola
Currently there is no specific treatment or cure for Ebola, only supportive symptomatic treatment can be given to the patient according to the symptoms. This including the painkiller medicines, initiation of IV fluid replacement, administration of supplemental oxygen and initiation of inotropic support to maintain blood pressure. All these measures make the patient comfortable and improve the chance of patient’s survival but cannot cure the illness completely.
However there are some experimental medicines tried over the infected cases which show effective results. The medicines were mostly the blood serums (having antibodies) from animal exposed to and survived Ebola.
06. Current Outbreak
Although Ebola virus was first appeared in 1976 in Democratic Republic of Congo, current outbreak of disease is most intense and widespread, infected 14, 413 persons mostly from countries of West Africa including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia with additional cases reported in Senegal, Nigeria and reached to Spain, Mali and United States Mali. Among these 14, 413 victims of Ebola disease, half are died due to complication of the disease.
07. Ebola in America
Ebola is now not only limited to the Central or West Africa. Its roots reached to America and the first case reported in August 2nd, 2014 where a 33 year old doctor Kent Brantley returned back to America from Liberia infected with Ebola. Luckily the case was treated successfully, survived the disease and released virus free.
08. Proton down Lab Ebola Experiment
As most of people think and reflected in Hollywood movies, many of the diseases were thought to be results of secret research experiments by some “Bad Doctors” or Government agencies to use them as biological weapons, there is an incident happened in Proton down Lab for applied Microbiology in England on 5th November, 1976 where during research on Ebola virus, a researches pricked his thumb with contaminated needle. The researcher ill few days later helps the scientist familiar with the nature of disease, providing initial data about the disease and let them know how much dangerous the diseases is.
09. Quarantine and Pre – Post Travel screening are important
Are you about to travel to an Ebola suspected region? First let go through the preventive measures or guidelines issue by the government. There is a strict screening process which you have to face if you were in the Ebola suspected region and returned back to your country. If you are positive with the symptoms of Ebola, you may be put in isolation (Quarantine) from other for several days till you get free from virus. This might not help you but may prevent others in your country to get infected with Ebola.
10. How Ebola gets its Name
Last but not least, after all terrible facts and information on Ebola disease, here is some interesting information about the disease name. The disease got its name after the Ebola River as the disease first appears in a village of Democratic Republic of Congo close to Ebola River.