You’ve seen the headlines, devoured the news stories and watched hours of deeply disturbing
television news coverage!
In March 2014, an outbreak of the Ebola virus occurred in the Western African nation of Guinea.
This was the first Ebola virus outbreak registered in that region.
As of 10 April, 157 suspected and confirmed cases and 101 deaths had been reported in Guinea,
22 suspected cases in Liberia including 14 deaths, 8 suspected cases in Sierra Leone including
6 deaths, and 1 suspected case in Mali.
Everywhere you turn more alarming casualties are revealed.
“This outbreak is the most severe in
recorded history with regards to
both the number of human cases
And the numbers are mounting!
By late June 2014, the death toll had reached 390 with over 600 cases reported.
By 23 July 2014, the World Health Organization had reported 1201 confirmed cases including
672 deaths since the epidemic began in March.
On 31 July 2014, WHO reported that the death toll had reached 826 from 1440 cases.
confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 29 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia,
Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
“At least 2,630 people have died in the worst outbreak
of Ebola virus in history, which has so far
infected at least 5,357 people in West Africa,
the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
In an update on the epidemic, which is raging through
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and has spread
into Nigeria and Senegal, the WHO said
there were no signs yet of it slowing.”
Worst of all, there is no specific treatment for this disease.
With such disturbing consequences, of course we are wondering what the Ebola Virus is
and what we can do to avoid contracting this virus.
Let’s look at the facts.
About Ebola Virus Disease
Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease caused
by the Ebola virus.
Symptoms typically start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever,
sore throat, muscle pains, and headaches.
Generally nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea follow, along with decreased functioning of the
liver and kidneys.
At this point, some people begin to have bleeding problems.
The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal
(commonly monkeys or fruit bats).
Fruit bats are believed to carry and spread the virus without being affected.
Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people as well.
Male survivors may be able to transmit the disease via semen for nearly two months.
Prevention includes decreasing the spread of disease from infected monkeys and pigs to humans.
This may be done by checking such animals for infection and killing and properly disposing
of the bodies if the disease is discovered.
Properly cooking meat and wearing protective clothing when handling meat may also be helpful,
as are wearing protective clothing and washing hands when around a person with the disease.
Samples of bodily fluids and tissues from people with the disease should be handled
with special caution.
At this time, no ebola virus-specific treatment exists.
Treatment is primarily supportive in nature and includes:
-providing fluids, using oral rehydration therapy (slightly sweet and salty water to drink) or
-administration of anticoagulants and procoagulants, maintaining oxygen levels, pain management,
and the use of medications to treat bacterial or fungal secondary infections.
Fortunately, a number of experimental new treatments are being explored.
Early treatment may increase the chance of survival.
Unfortunately, Ebola has high mortality rate: often killing between 50% and 90% of those infected
with the virus.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
The illustrated infographic below brings many of the facts to life and helps to clarify methods of
transmission and symptoms.