What is Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and non-human primates (monkey, gorillas and chimpanzees) that has appeared sporadically since its initial recognition in 1976. The disease is caused by infection with Ebola virus, named after a river in the democratic republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) in Africa, where it was first recognized. The virus is one of a family of RNA viruses called Filoviridae. There are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus. Four of the five have caused disease in humans :Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory coast and Ebola-Bundibudgyo. The fifth, Ebola-Reston, has caused disease in non-human primates but not in humans.
Where is Ebola virus found in nature?
The exact origin, locations and natural habitat(known as "Natural reservoir") of Ebola Virus remain unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is Zoonotic (Animal borne) with four of the subtypes occurring in an animal host native to Africa.
How is Ebola Virus spread?
Infection with Ebola virus are acute. There is no carrier state because the natural reservoir of the virus is unknown. The manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak has not been determined. However researchers have hypothesized that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal.
After the first case patient in an outbreak setting is infected, the virus can be transmitted in several ways. People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person. Thus, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for infected persons. People can also be exposed to Ebola Virus through contact with objects such as needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
All Ebola virus species have displayed the ability to be spread through airborne particles (aerosols). Nasocomial transmission refers to the spread of a disease within a health-care setting such as a clinic or hospital. It occurs frequently during Ebola HF outbreaks. In African health care facilities, patient are often cared for without the use of a mask, gown or gloves. Exposure to the virus has occurred when health care workers treated individuals with Ebola HF without wearing these types of protective clothing.
What are the symptoms of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever?
The incubation period of Ebola HF ranges from 2-21days. The onset of illness is abrupt and is characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pin. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.
How is Ebola Hemorrhagic fever treated?
There is no standard treatment for Ebola Hf. Patient receive supportive therapy. This consists of balancing the patient's fluid and electrolytes, maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure and treating them for any complicating infections.