Most people have heard of the disease called Ebola in the news, but it turns out this disease is not new; it’s a disease that was discovered for the first time in 1976 during a deadly epidemic.
In case you had never heard of Ebola or don’t know what it is exactly, don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to cover the most important points, from what it is to its main characteristics.
What is Ebola?
As previously stated, Ebola is a viral infectious disease that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and primates. This disease is named after a river located in Zaire, Africa, that shares the same name.
The Ebola virus is one of two members of a family of RNA viruses called Filoviriadae. It’s also worth mentioning that there are five serotypes of the Ebola virus: Ebola – Zaire, Ebola – Ivory Coast, Ebola – Sudan, Ebola – Bundibugyo, and Ebola – Reston; the latter has caused disease in primates but not humans.
How is the Ebola virus spread?
The Ebola virus is highly infectious and is considered so due to its high mortality rate; how quickly it kills and the remote areas where infections occur.
It is most commonly spread through contact with an infected host animal (alive or dead), such as bats, monkeys, and antelopes, among others. Human to human transmission occurs through contact with the blood, secretions, tissues and body fluids of an infected person, as well as through contact with contaminated medical equipment, such as needles.
It’s also important to discuss nosocomial transmission, which refers to the spread of disease within a health center or hospital. Lately, it tends to happen a lot with the Ebola virus in health centers on the African continent, because patients are often seen without masks, gowns or gloves.
Things to note about the Ebola virus
The Ebola virus is a disease to fear and learn about, mostly because of how difficult it is to detect, and it ends up being detected too late. Below we provide a number of things to know about the Ebola virus.
Ebola has a mortality rate of 90%
From the moment it was first detected, there have been more than twenty outbreaks and isolated cases of the Ebola virus disease; in some of these outbreaks, the mortality rate has come to be about 90 percent of people who have been infected.
The Ebola virus can remain active in the semen
The WHO (World Health Organization) said that men can still transmit Ebola through their semen up to seven weeks after their recovery.
Symptoms of Ebola virus
Initially, the symptoms of Ebola are fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat; after these symptoms, there may be vomiting, diarrhea, rash, kidney problems and in many cases internal and external bleeding. If anyone presents these symptoms, they should immediately go to the doctor and, if possible, avoid any kind of contact with anyone around them, so the disease is not spread further.
Incubation period of Ebola virus
It is estimated that the incubation period of the Ebola virus from the moment it comes into contact with the virus until the first symptoms appear is two to twenty-one days. Because of its symptomatic similarity to other diseases, the only way to diagnose the Ebola virus is through an analysis or laboratory sample.
Prevention and treatment to follow
At the moment, it’s regrettable that there is no vaccine on the market against the Ebola virus. The hope is that several vaccines are currently being tested, but this is still at a purely experimental stage. Regarding treatment, there isn’t a specific one to combat the effects of the disease other than providing oral rehydration with electrolyte solutions or intravenous fluids.