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Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease most commonly affecting people and nonhuman primates.
It is a severe, often fatal disease with a fatality rate of anywhere between 25 percent and 90 percent, depending on the outbreak.
Ebola was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).
One of the largest Ebola outbreaks began in March 2014. As of March 20, 2016, there were 28,608 reported Ebola cases from this outbreak.
Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the Filoviridae family, genus Ebolavirus. This potentially deadly virus is spread in the blood, body fluids (like blood, urine, feces, vomit, breast milk, and saliva) or organs of a person or animal with the infection.
Particles of the virus can remain present in semen for months after recovery from an infection.
This virus can persist in a recovered person in immune-protected tissues such as the eye or the testes. Other people’s exposure to these tissues is rare, but can occur, for instance during an eye surgery or sex.
It is highly transmissible through person-to-person contact. It can rapidly spread through a population having no preexisting immunity to the virus.
Transmission can also occur through contact with objects contaminated with these fluids and the bodies of the deceased with Ebola.
Ebola is extremely infectious because an infinitesimally small amount can cause the disease.
Laboratory experiments on nonhuman primates suggest that even a single virus may be enough to trigger a fatal infection.
It can take from 2 to 21 days, but usually 8 to 10 days, after infection for signs of Ebola to appear.
Typical signs and symptoms of Ebola virus disease include muscle pain, fever, headache, sore throat, joint pain, weakness and loss of appetite.
Patients will then develop increasingly severe problems like vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Symptoms such as fever can be confused with malaria.
Ebola can lead to death. On May 20 2022, a 12-year-old boy passed away due to the disease in the Maman Balako health area in Wangata Health Zone in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ebola has killed thousands worldwide.
Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.
Ebola is difficult to diagnose because early signs and symptoms resemble those of other illnesses like typhoid and malaria.
If your doctor suspects you have the disease, he or she will use blood tests to quickly identify the virus.
Ke Du, a faculty-researcher at Rochester Institute of technology has developed a prototype micro device with bio-sensors that can detect the deadly Ebola virus.
There is no licensed treatment for Ebola. Survival can depend on seeking treatment as quickly as possible.
Standard treatment for Ebola is limited to supportive therapy, which includes balancing the patient's fluid and electrolytes, maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure, and treating such patients for any complicating infections.
NIAID is advancing research on several investigational Ebola treatments in different stages of development.
Various Ebola vaccine candidates were evaluated in 2019 in phase I–III clinical trials conducted in Africa, the EU and the US.
The first Ebola vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was a single-dose injection known as Ervebo.
The vaccine from Merck & Co. was approved in December 2019 to protect against the Zaire ebolavirus in people ages 18 years and older.
By 2022 various Ebola vaccines were available, which were US FDA, European Medicines Agency (EMA), World Health Organization, and U.K approved, and administered to protect people from contracting the Ebola virus disease.
To reduce the risk of this disease practice careful hygiene (e.g., wash hands with soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or chlorine solution).
Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids from a person who has or might have Ebola. Do not touch items that have been in contact with a person who has or might have the disease.
While in a region with Ebola, avoid funerals or burial rituals involving touching the dead. Stay away from bats or non-human primates and their meat.
I am vaccinated and I protect myself against Ebola.
— Zoe Kibwana, a 46-year-old shoe salesman who does business in Uganda.
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Ebola vs Coronavirus
Ebola is a deadly disease, with a fatality rate of around 50 percent.
However, it had little means of transmission, as only close contact to bodily fluids such as blood and sweat could spread it on.
According to health officials, 2019-CoV (Coronavirus) has acquired the ability to pass between people with ease and can do so before symptoms appear.
However, it has traded some of its power, as it has a much lower fatality rate than Ebola at 15 percent.
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Death rate of Ebola disease is ___ percent.
- Ebola was first identified in which year?
- Ebola is caused by a ______
- Even a single virus may be enough to trigger a fatal infection.
- Which among these is a symptom of Ebola?
- Joint pain
- All the above
- All the above
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Srikanth R
Srikanth R (author) on May 30, 2019:
Tiffany from Springbrook, AB on May 30, 2019:
That was interesting, thank you.