Ebola virus disease also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or simply Enola is a rare and lethal disease of humans and other anthropoids and is caused by the infection of the Ebola viruses. It is a disease that occurs in an epidemic form and to control it becomes a great challenge for not only the individuals but also for the Government. Its current epidemic in West Africa is the deadliest in the history and therefore extensive measurements should be taken to eradicate it. The number of deaths and miserable conditions of the patients with this disease are really pathetic. Here we have the list of 10 Things You Must Know About Ebola Viral Disease, read this list and play your role in eradicating this disease from the community.
10. Eitiology / Causes Of Ebola
Ebola hemorrhagic fever in humans is caused by the infection of a virus that belongs to family Filoviridae and genus Ebola virus. There are 5 species of Ebola virus that are identical including Sudan virus, Bundibugyo virus, Tai Forest virus and Ebola virus and are responsible to cause disease in humans. Whereas the fifth, Reston has known to cause diseases in non human primates. Ebola virus is just the member of the Zaire Ebolavirus species and is renowned as one of the most dangerous viruses of the known Ebola disease causing viruses and is also responsible for the greatest numbers of epidemics.
9. Risk Of Exposure
Healthcare individuals that are responsible for caring the patients of Ebola Virus disease and the friends and family that are in close contact with them are at the greatest risk of acquiring the infection as they may come in contact with the body fluids or blood of infected patients. Individuals can also become infected after coming in contact with infected wildlife. Laboratory workers are also at high risk as the samples taken for investigation from humans and animals can be responsible for causing the disease.
There are different modes by which a virus can spread and cause infections in humans. The Ebola virus can spread between individuals through direct contact with body fluids or blood of an individual after the symptoms have established. Body fluids that may contain Ebola viruses include mucous, saliva, tears, sweat, urine, feces, breast milk and semen. Objects that been contaminated with the virus are also a source of infection. This virus may be able to withstand in the semen of survivors for up to 7 weeks after recovery and therefore sexual intercourse can give rise to infections. It is not spread by air or water, or in general by food. However, in Africa, it may advance as a consequence of handling bush meat and contact with contaminated bats. Dead bodies of affected individuals are also a source of infection.
7. Prevention And Control
Good epidemic control depends on applying a perfect amalgamate of interventions including case management, contact tracing, good laboratory services, safe burials and social mobilization. The role of community is very important in controlling outbreaks. Educating the people about Ebola infection and its protective measures play an important role in reducing its transmission. The individuals who care infected people should wear protective clothing including gloves, masks, goggles and gowns. The infected individuals should be isolated from other people and all equipment, waste of patient, medical waste, and surfaces that are contaminated with body fluids should be disinfected. If an individual perishes with Ebola disease, direct contact with the dead body should be avoided as it is a source of infection.
6. Ebola Outbreaks
In the past, the Ebola outbreaks have occurred in the countries named Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Gabon, Uganda, Ivory Coast, and South Africa. However currently, the Ebola outbreak is found in West Africa. The Ebola epidemic of 2020 is the history’s largest outbreak and is influencing multiple countries including Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in West Africa. From 1976 when its first case was identified to 2020, the WHO has reported 1,716 confirmed cases of this disease. According to 29th October, 2020, 13,567 cases and 4,960 mortalities had been reported.
5. Signs And Symptoms
The symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever generally begin between 2 days and 3 weeks after interacting with a virus and start with a sudden influenza like conditions featured by fever, tiredness, pain in the joints and muscles, sore throat and headache. This is sometimes followed by abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. The next forthcoming symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath along with headache, swelling and confusion. In almost half of the cases, rashes develop on the skin. In few cases, internal and external bleeding may also happen and this condition generally starts 5 to 7 days after first symptoms. There is decrease in blood clotting of the patients and bleeding from sited of needle puncture and mucous membranes is also reported in 40-50 percent of cases. This may lead to vomiting with blood, coughing with blood, or blood in stool. However massive bleeding is unusual but if occurs then it is generally in the gastrointestinal tract.
4. Differential Diagnosis
The early symptoms of this disease may be identical to that of other diseases like dengue fever and malaria or like other viral hemorrhagic fevers and Marburg virus disease. Therefore complete differential diagnosis is pervasive and needs deliberation of various other infectious diseases like typhoid, cholera, sepsis, shigellosis, borreliosis, plaque, rickettsial disease, enterohemorrhagic E.coli enteritis, Q fever, measles, viral hepatitis, and candidiasis among others. The non infectious diseases that may have symptoms identical to Ebola include hemolytic uremic syndrome, clotting factor disorders, acute promyelocytic leukemia, snake envenomation, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, warfarin poisoning, Kawasaki disease and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.
Ebola virus disease is difficult to diagnose as the early sign and symptoms of this disease resemble with other diseases like malaria and typhoid. However, in suspicion of a patient having Ebola, blood tests are immediately recommended as these tests quickly identify the virus. There are some non specific laboratory tests and some specific laboratory tests. These specific laboratory tests are helpful in confirming Ebola virus disease. The diagnosis of Ebola is confirmed by isolating the virus by cell culture, detecting its proteins by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and detecting the viral RNA by polymerase chain reaction. These tests are best to use in early stages of disease and also from identifying the virus in human remains. In the later stages of the disease, detecting antibodies against the virus is the most reliable method. This method is also reliable in individuals that recover.
No vaccine or antiviral medication is available for treating this disease. However the survival can be improved by supportive or symptomatic treatment. The supportive treatment includes providing fluids, maintaining blood pressure of the patient, providing oxygen as required, replacing blood loss and treating other infections that develop. The WHO recommends evading the use of ibuprofen or aspirin for pain because of the bleeding risk associated with the use of these drugs. The treatments and vaccinations for this disease are under development, but have not been completely tested for effectiveness or safety.
The recovery from Ebola depends on the severity of the symptoms, good supportive treatment and the response of the patient’s immunity. Individuals who recover from Ebola virus disease build antibodies that remain for at least ten years. Recovery from this disease may start between seven and fourteen days after the initiation of symptoms. It is a lethal disease and death, if occurs, is generally between six to sixteen days from the beginning of symptoms and is sometimes because of decreased blood pressure due to loss of fluids.
If bleeding occurs then it is an indication of worse consequence and this blood loss can lead to death. Patients develop comatose state near the end of their life. Some individuals who withstand this disease have continuous joint and muscle pain, inflammation of liver and decreased hearing ability among other issues.