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Updated on: Aug 17, 2014

Ebola viral Symptoms and Prevention

Ebola virus Disease (EVD) is also known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF). It is the acute viral disease caused by the Ebola Virus. It is a rare and often fatal disease occurred in humans and primates like monkeys and gorillas. It is characterized by high body temperature and in some cases causing bleeding inside and outside the body.  Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has described Ebola as one of the world’s most deadly diseases that can kill up to 90% of the people who are infected of it. The Ebola Virus causes Ebola fever. Looking at the history of its discovery, the first case of this virus was reported in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 and there has been several outbreak of this virus in Africa causing number of deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the cases of 2,265 of Ebola fever in humans since 1976 resulting 1,531 deaths.

Types of Ebola Virus:

There are five type of Ebola Virus namely:-

1.       Ebola-Zaire

2.       Ebola-Sudan

3.       Ebola-Ivory Coast

4.       Ebola-Bundibugyo

5.       Ebola-Reston

As has been mentioned the types, is according to their occurrence in Africa. The Ebola-Reston Virus is reported to be found in Philippines that has affected only animals not humans.

How is Ebola Transmitted?

Ebola Virus is said to extremely contagious and do not know exactly how it spreads exactly. However, it is believed to be acquired upon contact with blood and body fluids of an infected animal commonly of monkeys or fruit bats. Fruit bats are believed to carry and spread this virus. In Africa, fruit bats are taken as a special and costly dish. The major way of transmission of the virus is the direct contact to the infected person or the host body. It is also reported that men who have been recovered from Ebola can transmit the virus through his semen for up to 7 weeks even after his recovery. It is a very active virus. The WHO has stated that Ebola virus is also caused if a healthy person handles a sick or dead ones who has Ebola virus. There has not been a proven statement of Ebola Virus being spread through air.

What are the Symptoms of Ebola Virus Infection?

The incubation period of the virus is generally from two days to three weeks. The early symptoms include fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and sore throat.  Later days, the illness is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, impaired liver and kidney function, in some cases; it causes both internal and external bleeding as well. Unless the blood and body secretions of a infected person contains this virus, they are contagious to others.

WHO has reported some of the early symptoms can misjudge the disease to be malaria, typhoid fever or even plague.

How is Ebola Virus Treated?

Ebola is confirmed by different laboratory tests which includes

  • Antibody-capture enzyme linked immune Sorbent Assay (ELISA)
  • Antigen detection tests
  • Serum neutralization test
  • Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay.
  • Electron microscopy
  • Virus isolation by cell culture.

There has not been any specific treatment for Ebola yet though the scientists are working on finding one. The patients are given supportive care to treat the symptoms. The efforts include intravenous fluids or oral rehydration therapy to prevent from dehydration, monitoring of the blood pressure, heart rate and breathing or other infections that can appear during the sickness.

Prevention of the disease

Since no medicine or vaccination are available to cure Ebola virus infection, the precaution is the best way to avoid the disease to come into contact by avoiding to travel to the areas where the virus is found and health workers should use masks, gloves and goggles whenever they go to treat the Ebola infected person.