Ebola hemorrhagic fever, also and popularly called Ebola is a rare but fatal viral hemorrhagic fever caused by Ebolaviruses.
Ebola viruses are viruses that belong to the Filoviridae family. There are six species of ebolaviruses named after the places they were discovered:
- Bundibugyo Ebolavirus.
- Reston Ebolavirus.
- Sudan Ebolavirus.
- Tai forest Ebolavirus (originally Côte d’Ivoire Ebolavirus).
- Zaire Ebolavirus.
- Bombali Ebolavirus (found in Sierra Leone on 27th July 2018).
How did Ebola spread to humans?
- Eating undercooked bushmeat and handling contaminated animals
- Direct contact with blood from an infected person or animal.
- Contract with bodily fluids from an infected person such as Semen, urine, tears, sweat, or other secretions.
- Contact with items stained with contaminated bodily fluids such as unclean needles or syringes.
- Transmitted from breastmilk to newborns.
Ebola Signs and Symptoms
It takes about 2 – 21 days after exposure to Ebola virus before the signs and symptoms of Ebola begin to manifest.
Here are signs and symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever:
- High body temperature (fever)
- Sore throat
- Fatigue (feeling tired)
- Nasal bleeding
- Severe vomiting of stomach content
- Vomiting blood
- Severe Diarrhea with the presence of blood
- Maculopapular skin Rash (visible as flat, red areas of skin covered with small bumps)
- Petechiae (pinpoint rash)
- Shock (cold, clammy skin with low blood pressure)
- Red eyes
- Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
- Confusion (disorientation)
- Joint pain
- Visible ecchymosis and hematomas on skin
- Stomach pain
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Coughing up blood
Diagnosis Of Ebola
- Full blood count.
- Coagulation factor testing: will detect prolonged prothrombin time, bleeding time, and partial thromboplastin time.
- Viral culture: identity species of virus.
- Serological analysis: detect immunoglobulin G and M antibodies against the virus.
- Polymerase chain reaction: Detect Ebola virus RNA.
Treatment Of Ebola
There is no specific treatment regimen, and the symptoms are managed accordingly as they appear:
- Using medication to control fever and pain.
- Rehydration therapy: fluid replacement to prevent and treat dehydration.
- Blood transfusion (whole blood and clotting factors).
- Vasopressors to elevate blood pressure
- Oxygen therapy to sustain oxygen.
- Medication treatment for other infections
Complications of Ebola
The risk of death is high in Ebola patients. 25% – 90% of those infected with Ebola virus dies within 6 – 16 days after symptoms manifest. For those who survive several complications occurs, such as:
- Presence of Ebola virus in semen and breast milk for a couple of months and can pass the virus to sexual partners or newborns.
- Ongoing joint and muscle pains
- Problems with hearing
- Difficulty maintaining a healthy weight
- Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
- Problems with vision
- Hair loss
- Skin peeling
Prevention Of Ebola
- Tutor the general public about the risk of Ebola and preventive measures.
- Vaccination: a vaccine was approved in December 2019.
- Wear protective gear when coming in contact with an infected person. Wash hands regularly and thoroughly.
- Isolate the patient.
- Safely dispose of any needle and syringe properly.
- Use safe burial practices.
- Dispose of waste properly and safely.
- Cook bushmeat properly before consumption.
- Handle Bush meat with gloves.
- Disinfect any material that has come in contact with infected bodily fluids properly (heating for 30 – 60minutes at 60°ZC or boiling for 5 minutes is enough to kill Ebolaviruses).
- Disinfect contaminated surfaces with detergents, alcohol-based products, bleach (sodium hypochlorite), or bleaching powder (calcium hypochlorite).
Brief History Of Ebola
- Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was two outbreaks that happened simultaneously.
- Ebola is named after the Ebola River, which is a river near the village in Congo where one of the outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever occurred.
- The pain caused by Ebola hemorrhagic fever is not with aspirin or ibuprofen because these pain relievers can worsen bleeding.
- The average death rate is 50%.