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Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
Ebola virus disease or Ebola or Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. EVD in humans is caused by four of the five viruses of the genus Ebola virus. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ebola viruses are found in Africa. The disease is considered to be very deadly as it killed about fifty percent of the infected people. Researchers believe that Ebola virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir. The 2014 EVD epidemic is the largest ever encountered outbreak of the disease. About 70% of the people who have gotten Ebola in this outbreak have died. The virus poses a very low risk to people in the United States.

Signs and Symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease:

The incubation period of Ebola is 2 to 21 days but in some cases it may be greater than 21 days. The disease usually begin with a sudden influenza-like stage characterized by feeling tired, fever, weakness, decreased appetite, muscular pain, joint pain, headache, and sore throat. This is often followed by vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.] Later, shortness of breath and chest pain may occur, along with swelling, headaches and confusion. In about half of the cases, a maculopapular rash may develop on the skin. Internal and external bleeding may occur in some patients. Decreased blood clotting is seen in all infected people. Heavy bleeding is usually uncommon though vomiting of blood, coughing up of blood, or blood in stool may be present. Low blood pressure is the main cause of death in the infection of Ebola virus disease

How do you get Ebola virus disease?

Though Ebola virus disease is extremely life threatening yet much less contagious as compared to other viruses like influenza, colds or viruses.

The virus of Ebola spreads through direct contact with the skin or body fluids such as blood, semen, breast milk of an infected human or other animals. Fruit bats are normal carrier in nature and they themselves don't get the disease. Ebola virus does not spread through air, food or water. A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either. Attendants of patients suffering from EVD or those who cremate a person suffering from disease may get infected with Ebola virus. 

Diagnosis of Ebola virus disease

As EVD has symptoms similar to typhoid., malaria, dengue thus it is sometimes difficult to diagnose it. Doctors need to rule out all similar diseases to diagnose Ebola.

The diagnostic tests include: 

  • ELISA (antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
  • Antigen-capture detection tests.
  • Serum neutralization test.
  • Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay.
  • Electron microscopy.
  • Virus isolation by cell culture.

Prevention of Ebola

  • People taking care of patients suffering from EVD should wear masks., caps, gloves
  • Avoid visiting places where Ebola virus is present.
  • Wash hands as required.
  • Needles and syringes of infected patients should be disposed properly.
  • Isolate the patient.
  • Safe burial practices are necessary to prevent EVD.

Management of Ebola

  • Blood pressure control
  • Patient should be checked for Dehydration.
  • Symptomatic treatment of disease.
Updated: May, 7 2015

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