December 14, 2014
Over the past few months, Ebola has found its way into the United States, and has caused one death. On September 30th 2014, the CDC confirmed the first case of one of the deadliest viruses without our country. During that period, people began worrying about catching this virus when they were surrounded by people who coughed, sneezed, or had any symptoms of the flu; people automatically assumed that that person had Ebola. Even though this disease was discovered in the past, it began to put a worry on people around the world when the virus began spreading across the globe. The Ebola virus has the potential to spread anywhere. Over the past several months, we have seen the virus rapidly grow.
Ebola Virus is an extremely lethal virus from the tropics. It is one of the deadliest diseases to humankind. Previously known as hemorrhagic fever, this disease is rare and deadly, and caused by infection of one of five virus strains (CDC 2014). A member of the RNA viruses known as filoviruses, discovered it in 1976 named after a river in Zaire, Africa where it was first detected. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa (CDC 2014). This disease does not only affect humans, but can affect primates as well. Four strains affect humans, one in non-human primates. The non- human primate strain can be transferred to humans through consumption of the animal.
The 2014 Ebola outbreaks are the largest in history, and the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Nearly 9,000 cases have been confirmed, and almost 4,500 confirmed deaths; there were three confirmed cases in the United States, and as a result, one death has occurred (Outbreaks, 2014). The outbreak in the United States began when Thomas Dunkan, a Liberian, flew into the United States on September 20th, and died shortly after on October 8th. Before his death, he was treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. The disease made its way to one of his nurses, but it is unknown how she got in contact with him because she was dressed from head to toe in a hazmat suit, which made her the first person in the United States to catch Ebola (CDC 2014).
The transmission of Ebola is not airborne, but is transmitted through “H2H” (Human to Human contact), or through the consumption of an animal carrying this deadly virus. “The virus may be spread through ‘negligence’ from clinics or hospitals that take care of Ebola infected patients. When an infection occurs in humans, the virus can spread through broken skin or mucus membranes, like needles, and syringes that have been contaminated with the virus, and infected fruits or primates (Transmission 2014). Once you have recovered from Ebola, you can no longer spread the virus; however, in males, Ebola is detected in semen after patients have recovered. It is not known if the virus can spread through sexual intercourse or oral sex. In addition, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with their infected loved ones.
Ebola Virus symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days (CDC 2014). The beginning of the illness is rapid. Symptoms may begin anywhere from fever, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, weak body, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe stomach pain. Throughout the sickness, infected ones may experience external and internal bleeding. The vomiting becomes strong and turns into dry heaves. Blood begins to clot everywhere in the body including the liver, lungs, hands, feet, and kidneys. The organs begin to liquefy making the patient very weak, making the spine nerveless (Ebola Symptoms 2014).
Currently, there is no specific way to treat Ebola. Patients may receive some sort of therapy which includes balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes, and to maintain oxygen and blood pressure. Doctors also work on preventing people from