On current news, deadly Ebola Virus kills 88 of the 122 confirmed cases in Guinea since January this year. The Zaire species (ZEBOV) of the virus killed 4 more out of the 7 infected in Liberia.
Ebola virus is one of the deadliest known viruses to men. It has five species: Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV), Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV), Reston ebolavirus (RESTV), Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) and Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV). Four of which are restricted to Africa except for the RESTV species also found in the Philippines in 2008. Since its first recognition, Ebola virus has claimed more than 1, 500 lives usually in a matter of days
People infected experience sudden onset of fever, body weakness, muscle pain and sore throat that can worsen. Next stage symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, kidney and liver failure and unstoppable bleeding. Because of its vague initial symptoms, Ebola virus infection has been mistaken with dysentery, typhoid fever, malaria and a few other diseases. But it is deadly because up to date, it still has no known cure.
Ebola virus comes from wild animals such as gorillas, chimpanzees, porcupines, forest antelopes and fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family. It was first recognized in 1976 in the People’s Republic of Congo and Sudan where the deadly Ebola Virus killed 51% and 57% of people infected respectively.
Upon infection, the virus incubates in the body for 2 to 21 days. Transmission from person is via direct or indirect contact with body fluids, blood or any contaminated things of both living and dead infected people. A person can still transmit the disease for as long as the virus remains in the body fluids, usually up to 7 weeks in the semen.
Diagnosis is done via ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test, antigen detection test and various others.
The lack of treatment or vaccine for Ebola means measures are supportive, preventive and focused on control of transmission. Information dissemination, wearing of personal protective equipment in handling infected articles and body fluids and other quarantine measures are crucial. To avoid dehydration, infected people are given fluids via oral and intravenous route.
Measures are being done to contain the virus and prevent its further spread. Liberia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Walter Gwenigale has even asked Liberia’s citizens to abstain from having sex, avoid kissing and handshake for 45 days especially when suspected. This to the dismay of some citizens. “…but I have to tell you all the facts so that you don’t get yourself contaminated,” said the Minister.
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