The Ebola Virus
Cause of Disorder
Ebola is a virus and part of the negative-stranded RNA family known as filovirus. It was discovered in 1976 in Africa and was named after a river in Zaire. When the virus is looked at under an electron microscope the filoviridae appear as being long, thin and occasionally they have ‘branches’ sprouting from one place or another. Ebola can also take the form of a ‘U’ or a ‘b’. There are four known strains of the virus; they are Ebola Sudan, Ebola Zaire, Ebola Reston and Ebola Tai. Ebola Reston only causes disease in monkeys but as the rest of them take approximately 8 hours to duplicate itself.
How is it Transmitted
The Ebola virus can easily be transmitted through direct contact of blood, organs, secretions of any kind and semen from any person infected. Another method is that of used needles that have been infected. With all countries considered, the 3rd world and the reuse of needles are a common practice, due to lack of funds and supplies. Though recovered patients pose no serious threat, the virus is present up to 7 weeks after being treated. Vomit and diarrhea contain the infected blood and mucus so any contact with this, e.g. in poor drinking water can cause contraction of the virus. Luckily enough Ebola is not airborne and in some cases due to its self-limiting nature, it has been known to die out within a person before killing the host. In one case when a Swiss researcher found the Ebola Tai virus, she contracted it from a chimpanzee. This was during an investigation into the spur of deaths among them at the time. To this day, there is still no evidence as to what host carried the virus before humans and no location of the virus is known.
The Effect on the Body
Within the 4 to 16 days the Ebola virus starts to show its face with headaches, fevers, chills, muscle aches and a loss of appetite. As the virus progresses, patients start to experience diarrhea, rashes, a sore throat, vomiting, abdominal pain, and chest pain. The ability and functions of the liver and kidneys become limited, and internal and external bleeding starts. The blood no longer clots and that obviously causes serious problems. Capillaries start to bleed which leads to the loss of intravascular volume, and then soon death, all within 17 days of infection. Fatal cases (70%-90%) are due to shock, internal bleeding, and an acute respiratory disorder; those at the serious stage of the attack are often delirious, combative and difficult to control. To put it frankly, after about a week and a bit the internal organs have turned to mush and there’s no hope.
There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus so the only way to prevent an outbreak is education of what this virus is truly capable of doing and how victims can be properly treated. The key to saving a population from massacre is prompt isolation before the virus has a chance to hop hosts. An essential element to finding a method of safety is to track the virus to what may have carried it before humans but there is no evidence of this. There was a massive inquiry in to the host after the outbreaks of 1976 and 1979 but again no evidence. Doctors confronted with the disease are to follow the ‘Barrier Technique’; this includes the following actions:
1) Doctors and nurses wear gowns, masks, gloves, and goggles when caring for patients,
2) The patients visitors are cut off,
3) Disposable materials are burned after use,
4) All reusable materials are sterilized before use,
5) The virus is easily killed by disinfectants, so all hard surfaces are cleaned with a sanitizing solution.
The Ebola virus can be diagnosed by the detection of Ebola antigens, antibodies, or genetic material. It can also be found with the help of a culture from any of the three sources. With such a high mortality rate of 70% to 90%, it is obvious that there is no cure for such a powerful virus. In comparison to AIDS (level 2) the Ebola virus is at a level 4 pathogen, only the deadliest known to man get this classification, yet the range of severity could be relatively mild or fatal. That leaves a lot open to fate and your immune system.