The Ebola Virus The Ebola Virus is an extremely deadly virus found in Africa. There have been multiple outbreaks across Africa and one in the United States. The Ebola virus basically causes uncontrollable bleeding externally and internally. Then your organs become liquefied. This usually results in death(www.encyclopedia.com). The following report contains info on the characteristics and history of the Ebola Virus.
After being infected with the Ebola virus it takes 2-21 days to take effect. It depends if you had a direct infection, such as a hypodermic needle or a syringe, or a less direct infection, such as close contact(www.lfc.edu/’musilam/bio3.html 3). This is just enough time to get on a plane and spread it to people in another area. This could result in an outbreak in other parts of the world. There have been no known cases of this happening though (www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/sanchez.htm 2).
The Ebola virus has severe and disgusting symptoms. After the time it takes to take effect the Ebola virus starts out by showing symptoms like the flu. You develop a sore throat, fever, weakness, muscle pain, and headaches. As the virus progresses vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and limited kidney and liver function. After about 14 days of infection, bleeding becomes uncontrollable. Blood passes through eyes, lips, nose, ears, and skin. You also experience mental confusion (www.bates.edu/’tnorswor/index.html).
The Ebola virus has effects on your internal body as well. You would also experience internal bleeding. After about five days of infection your internal organs basically liquefy. The Ebola virus destroys the cells in your liver and the lining of all internal organs. At this point you will most likely die of the virus. The people who survive the virus usually had a less direct infection like close contact.
The Ebola virus transmits easily from person to person. Most people get the Ebola virus from close contact. The Ebola virus has cells on the infected person’s skin, then if you touch the person and touch an opening on your body, such as your mouth, you can be infected. This frequently occurs to hospital care workers before the patients are diagnosed with Ebola. Also family members who care for the infected person without the aid of a hospital often get Ebola.
Bodily fluids such as blood, vomit, secretions, or semen also transmit Ebola. People who clean this up may also become infected. Shared hypodermic needles or syringes are a more direct way to get the virus and result in a smaller time for the virus to take effect. Disposing of an Ebola virus casualty is also a way to catch the virus because viral presence remains after death.
“The Ebola virus is negatively stranded RNA type. It requires a polymerse transformation to reproduce. This leaves the virus subject to genetic code errors creating subtypes of Ebola. There are four known subtypes of the Ebola virus. The original subtype was Ebola Zaire (www.netLibrary.com).”
Diagnosis of the Ebola virus is very hard to do. You need a specialized laboratory to perform the blood test. These laboratories are not available commercially, so basically only the government can do it. The lab is an extreme bio hazard. It is conducted under maximum containment conditions.
There is no specific treatment or cure for the Ebola virus. Given it has about a 90% death rate, and this is really, really high. The treatment that is given involves intensive nursing to replace lost body fluids and to prevent shock, renal failure, depletion of blood pressure. Mixing plasma and whole blood have been used but there were no appropriate clinical trials, so their effectiveness is unknown.
Prevention of the Ebola virus is more useful than the treatments. Improving sanitation is an important thing to do in rural African countries. Any victims need to be isolated as soon as possible. Quarantining of infected people from others plays a major role. People who have been in close contact with the infected person need to be isolated at the first sign of the Ebola virus symptoms. Hospitals need to properly dispose of waste and corpses. Also, better communications so there can be improved reporting outbreaks. There are no international regulations for the Ebola Virus right now(www.indep.k12.mo.us/ths/student/evans/evans1.html).
The origin of the Ebola virus is unknown. Several studies have been done but the results are not showing anything. The virus was thought to have originated from animals. It was named after the Ebola River in Zaire near the first outbreak. The first picture of the Ebola virus was taken in 1976 at 160,000 x magnification.
Ebola Zaire, the first strain identified, was the first outbreak of the virus. In 1976 the Ebola virus quickly took the lives of many citizens of Zaire. There were 550 cases and 340 fatalities (including Ebola Sudan outbreak in 1976). Of the people infected 88% died.
In 1995 there was another outbreak of Ebola Zaire in Kikwit, Zaire. This had 293 cases and 233 deaths and an 80% mortality rate.
The most recent Ebola outbreak occurred ion 1996. In Gabon there was an outbreak of Ebola Zaire. It started when children found dead chimpanzees and took them home to eat. After the family and other members of the village got the Ebola virus. A separate incident involved a hunter living in a remote logging camp who died of Ebola ten days after returning to the forest. 95 people were infected, 70 people died. The virus had a 74% death rate.
The second strain identified was the Ebola Sudan. This was discovered around the same time of the first Ebola Zaire outbreak of 1976. The 1976 Ebola Sudan outbreak infected 550 people and killed 340 (including Ebola Zaire of 1976). It had a 53% death rate. The last outbreak to date of Ebola Sudan was in 1979. It happened in Sudan around the area of the first outbreak. This brought 22 deaths and more than 60% death rate.
The third strain to be identified was Ebola Reston, named after a city in Virginia where the virus was found. This was the only outbreak in the United States and luckily it only affected monkeys, it was not harmful to humans. The virus did appear to be air-born. One 149 workers came into contact with the monkey shipped from the Philippines. No one became ill, but two did develop antibodies for Ebola Reston.
The last strain of Ebola found was Ebola Tai. An outbreak of the Ebola Tai occurred in Nov. of 1995 in Cot d’Ivoire. Many chimpanzees living in the Tai forest died. On Nov.24, 1995 a Swiss researcher contacted the disease from an infected chimpanzee in the forest. She was sent to a Swiss hospital where she recovered. An autopsy of the Chimpanzee showed effects similar to the Ebola virus.
The Ebola virus is a member of a family of RNA viruses know as Filoviruses, because they resemble thread. Filoviruses are among the most mysterious viruses in the world because their natural history remain unknown and their pathogenesis poorly understood. The family consists of Ebola and Marburg viruses. Marburg and Ebola both cause hemorrhagic fevers (www.encyclopedia.com).
An Ebola virus Risk Assessment- www.outbreak.org/cgiunreg/dynaserve.exe/Ebola/risk.html
Death in 20 days-www.bates.edu/tnorswor/index.html
Ebola the history-www.lfc.edu/musilam/bio3.html
Ebola Virus Headquarters-www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/5738
Reemergence of Ebola Virus in Africa- www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/sanchez.html
Deadly Ebola Virus a fact of life in Gabon- www.cnn.com/WORLD/9704?26/gabon.ebola
The Ebola Virus-www.indep.k12.mo.us/ths/student/evans/evans1.html