By Maya Hernandez
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, a disease known as Ebola, was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River (what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Although Ebola mainly affects West Africa, there has been 8,752 total deaths recorded around the world. Even though this may not seem like much compared to other disease outbreaks, like the Plague, it’s had a major impact on the world we live in. Ebola is a very fatal disease, its transmitted by blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus, and infected fruit bats or primates (apes and monkeys). Even though it is a very easy disease to get, once you have recovered from it you can no longer pass it on to the others in the community. Because of the recent and historical out breaks and impact Ebola has had on our nation, it makes an interesting and important subject to research.
Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebola virus species, four of them are known to cause disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has caused disease in animals or non human primates, but not in humans. The natural reservoir host of Ebola virus remains unknown.
The symptoms for Ebola include severe headache, fever, weakness, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal (stomach) pain, vomiting, and unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising).
Humans can get this disease from wild animals through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs an or other bodily fluids of the infected animals like chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, forest antelope, monkeys and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest, it then spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs an or other bodily fluids of the infected people, also with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. Another way to catch this disease is burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person. This can play a huge role in the spread of Ebola. People remain infected as long as their blood and body fluids, like semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Although it is said that once you recover from the disease you can no longer pass it on, men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.
Once a person has been contaminated with this disease, it may take two to twenty- one days for symptoms to occur. Death is very likely for 70 percent of those infected, and those who are untreated.
Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are still being developed, these possible treatments have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness. With that being said, once somebody has been diagnosed with Ebola, the only thing that can be done is first, treat any other infections they may have, keep the person hydrated with fluids through an IV, give them lots of oxygen, and maintain their blood pressure. The life expectancy for those infected really depends on how strong the person’s immune system is. Prevention of Ebola includes avoiding areas with known