Diseases that quickly kill their patients are horrific. Ebola isn’t an exception. A virus that made a comeback on our planet causing the terrifying Ebola disease. Here’s what you need to know about the cause-of-panic deadly infection:
8. The Reality of Ebola
Ebola hemorrhagic fever ,or Ebola, is a lethal viral disease. It’s named after the Ebola river in Africa. Ebola has killed more than 90% of the people who got infected by the virus. Our lack of full knowledge about the deadly infection makes it frightening and rather interesting.
7. Ebola’s 5 Strains
There are five different known strains of the Ebola virus. Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Côte d’Ivoire, Ebola-Reston, and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The Zaire strain of the Ebola virus in West Africa is the deadliest of the five while the Ebola-Reston is asymptomatic in infected cases. Each of which is named after the location of its outbreak.
6. The Spread
In 1976, sprang the first human outbreak of Ebola in Sudan and Zaire. Other outbreaks where also reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, South Sudan, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Liberia. In 2014, Ebola struck again with even more significant damage, infecting over 1,700 people and killing more than 900. A Nigerian nurse in Lagos was first to die of the virus in August 5, which caused quite a panic as Lagos is the most populous city in Africa. By March 24, the virulent infection seemed to spread in large numbers in Guinea. Over the months, the outbreak managed to spread wider reaching nearby nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast. Thankfully, Ebola hasn’t caused any fatal casualties in the United States.
In 1976, when the sudden outbreak of the unknown deadly disease started spreading in Zaire and Sudan, a team of experts from Belgium’s Institute of Tropical Medicine sent by Zaire’ president’s personal physician arrived to look into the matter. The team started their research in the village of Yambuku, the origin of the first infected patient who quickly spread the virus to other villagers.
Ebola’s original hosts are fruit bats carrying the virus in their intestinal tracts. However, a common misconception claims that the Ebola virus originally came from monkeys. Nonetheless, monkeys are possible carriers of the virus along with pigs and dogs.
From the start of the first Ebola outbreak until the current one, it has been estimated that nearly 4,000 cases got infected, from which, 2,400 deaths have been reported with an average of 410 cases and 310 suspected deaths in Guinea, 196 cases and 166 deaths in Liberia, 422 cases and 206 in Sierra Leone.
3. Catching the Disease
Despite the intensity of the Ebola disease, Ebola is transmitted from one person to another only through body fluids such as blood, urine, saliva, mucus or other secretions. Moreover, fluids usually leak from an Ebola patient’s body and blood leaks from body openings. Infection can also be passed through sexual intercourse and from a mother to her baby during lactation.
Symptoms of Ebola begin to appear from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the virus. The initial symptoms are usually minor symptoms such as flu, fever, headache, exhaustion, muscle ache, sore throat and stomach pain. Unfortunately, these symptoms are usually over-looked until things get more complicated up from there. Symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal pain, and rash begin to appear followed by viral attack on all body systemic functions. Finally, internal and external hemorrhage takes place. Skin breaks, and the patient starts bleeding from all body orifices. Soon after, death is highly expected due to various reasons including impaired organs, seizures and low blood pressure.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any treatment for Ebola yet. Supportive therapy is the only recourse available which includes maintaining proper fluid balance as well as maintaining oxygen levels and blood pressure, and treating any other complicating infections. However, new drugs and vaccines are currently being tested.