Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses on earth. The survival rate of those infected is barely 10% and in some of the countries, especially in Africa and in Guinea to be specific, the survival rate is almost zero. The Ebola virus first appeared in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan and Yambuku, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Family filovirus has 3 genus; genus Ebolavirus, genus Marburgvirus and genus Cuevavirus. Genus Ebolavirus has five distinct species.
Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV).
Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)
Reston ebolavirus (RESTV)
Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV)
Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV).
BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV is mostly found in Africa, especially West African countries especially in Guinea and Liberia. RESTV and TAFV have never occurred in Africa.
The RESTV species is mostly found in Philippines and China, it can infect people but so far, no infection or death has been reported.
Mode of transmission of Ebola Virus
From animal to human, Ebola virus gets into the human body through close contact with any-body secretion including mucus, pus, vaginal discharges among other secretion, blood and body organs of infected animals. In Africa, people have gotten infections by handling infected animals such as gorillas, chimpanzee and fruit bats.
Transmission from human to human infections can be through direct contact, hugging or handshaking infected person with a broken skin or mucous membrane, blood, body secretions including sweat, pus and saliva. Infections have also occurred indirectly when people come in contact with the contaminated environment. In Africa, many cases have been reported where mourners get infections by coming into contact with the body of the deceased.
Seven weeks after recovery from illness, people can also transmit Ebola virus.
Health workers have also been infected while treating EVD patients. Failure to take strict prevention measures has resulted in infections.
Ebola Virus Signs and Symptoms
Ebola Virus Disease, (EVD) is a severe acute viral disease which is characterized by intense weakness, sudden onset of fever, headache, sore throat and muscle pain. Usually, this is followed by diarrhoea, rash, vomiting, impaired liver and kidney function. In some cases, both kidney and liver functions are completely hampered, patients suffer profuse internal and external bleeding.
Laboratory founding has indicated low white blood cells and plate number, in addition, patients also suffer elevated liver enzymes.
Typically, symptoms appear 8-10 days after exposure to the virus, but the incubation period can span two to 21 days.
Diagnosis of Ebola Virus
When diagnosing EVD, the following diseases should be ruled out; malaria, hepatitis, shigellosis, cholera, relapsing fever, typhoid fever, leptospirosis, plague, meningitis, and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.
Some of the methods of diagnosing Ebola which will differentiate it from other viral diseases includes;
Serum neutralization test
Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
Antigen detection tests
Virus isolation by cell culture.
Samples are extremely dangerous and testing should be done under maximum biological containment-conditions.
Prevention and treatment of Ebola Viral Disease
Currently, there is no EVD vaccine, several vaccines are being tried but no single vaccine has proved to be effective/ for clinical use.
Patients are frequently hydrated, they require intensive supportive care. Hydration can be treated by giving patients intravenous fluids oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes.
EVD has no specific treatment, each day new drugs are being evaluated.
How to Reduce Ebola Risk
Ebola has no treatment and vaccine, the only way to have to alleviate it is by raising awareness. You need to educate the masses on how to avoid infections, they should also endeavour to report Ebola cases to the authority.
Currently, Senegal has imposed quarantine, you cannot travel from Guinea to Senegal.
Importance and Impact of Ebola
Ebola has a major impact on national economy. For example, most of the western countries have banned there citizens from travelling to Guinea. Brussels airline has cancelled most of its flights to Guinea.
There is also the loss of manpower, both skilled and non-skilled.
There have been more than 3,300 reported human cases and more than 2,000 deaths since the discovery of Ebola. The World Health Organization says the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 932. The new figures come Wednesday as authorities in Nigeria confirmed the death of a nurse of Ebola. Saudi Arabia also announced one death of a person with Ebola-like symptoms. The outbreak emerged in March in Guinea and shows no sign of slowing down. Most of the new deaths are coming from Liberia and Sierra Leone. There now have been 363 deaths in Guinea, 282 in Liberia, 286 in Sierra Leone and one confirmed death in Nigeria, according to WHO’s statistics as of Aug. 4.
Confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola as of August 4, 2014 (World Health Organization):
Guinea – 495 cases, 363 deaths
Liberia – 516 cases, 282 deaths
Nigeria – 9 cases, 1 death
Sierra Leone – 691 cases, 286 deaths
In Africa fruit bats, particularly species Epomops franqueti, Hypsignathus monstrosus and Myonycteris torquata, are possible natural hosts for Ebola virus.
Currently, there is Ebola outbreak in West African countries especially Liberia and Guinea. Some of the challenges health workers are facing includes:
The remoteness of the affected areas: It is hard to assess some part of these countries.
Lack of enough trained personnel. WHO has to import health personnel from other countries.
Patients who have recovered also suffer stigma, locals cannot easily accept them back.
There is a lot of progress and you need to keep yourself current to get everything you need to know about Ebola virus