Ebola virus diseases or earlier know as Ebola Haemorrhagic fever has broken all records and is spreading in leaps and bounds, in the central and west Africa specifically Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The roots of the virus are however in Sudan where it originated.
It was in 1976 when the first two outbreaks took place simultaneously. Sudan and Nzara where one of them. The second was Democratic Republic of Congo in a village situated near Ebola River, from where it gets its name. The severity of the illness can be conjectured from the high case fatality rate of 90%.
The Virus, How Did It All Start-
Ebola belongs to the genus Ebolavirus. It is difficult to study about the virus as it is virulent in nature. Fruit bats of Africa are the natural hosts of the virus. Monkeys, chimpanzees, porcupines, forest antelope etc. are the accidental hosts just like humans. The contact between those animals and humans in case of their illness or death induced the virus in humans.
Is It Contagious?
Yes the disease is contagious but not to the degree of that of flu and cold. The virus spreads through physical contact or body fluids. It can easily find a host in people handling the patients of illness or during the death and burial of such patients. Even after recovery, a man’s semen contains the virus for another 7 weeks. Basically it is the body fluids like blood, secretion, mucous etc. responsible for the transmission of the disease.
Lately parts of west and central Africa have been affected but there is a strong threat of outbreak in US as we import and export many commodities from and to that region. The disease has taken 2600 people in Liberia in its wield and killed 1500 people. The workers taking care of the patients are the one most affected. This makes it difficult to handle the outbreak.
Symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease-
It take 2- 21 days for the symptoms to show up after the virus has entered the body.
- Sudden and high fever can be a sign of the virus. The fever is typically like any flu or cold fever characterized by weakness, pain in the muscle, headache and sore throat.
- Just like AIDS, this illness also attacks the defense system of the body. It lowers the white blood cell count of the body.
- The infection slowly starts its effects on kidney and liver and by the end damages them.
- There are few cases of external and internal bleeding also.
- Rashes, diarrhea and vomiting are the other symptoms of the disease.
Diagnosis, Vaccine and Syndrome-
As the symptoms, somewhere, are similar to that of malaria, cholera, typhoid etc. it is difficult to diagnose the disease. There are no vaccines for the illness yet. However, care and intensive handling of the patients is necessary.