Ebola was first recognised in 1976, and is a disease that is generally fatal in humans. It also occurs in the other primate species. Officially known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (or Ebola FH), it is extremely dangerous yet is not a common occurrence. It tends to appear sporadically – often in health care facilities where a patient has been treated – and in select groups, and containment is a necessity. In this article we will take a look at Ebola symptoms, some facts about Ebola, what it is and how it is caused, and the treatment options available. Let’s start with some symptoms of Ebola.
The problem with diagnosing Ebola is that the symptoms are not always the same in every patient. Some may experience a few, others may see different symptoms, and some may experience them all. In general, the following symptoms are known to occur in the time-scale listed:
Within a few days of infection most patients experience the following symptoms:
- High fever and headaches
- Muscle and stomach pain
- General fatigue
These are the most common symptoms, yet patients may also experience the following at the same time:
- Itchy eyes
- Sore throat
- Vomiting blood
A week after infection the following symptoms may be added to the above:
- Chest pain
The latter, of course, is the result rather than a symptom. Some patients do recover from Ebola, but the reason why – or how they do – is not properly known. It is thought they may have developed immunity to the disease at an earlier stage in life.
Here are some facts that you might wish to note about the Ebola virus:
- Ebola is caused by a virus; in fact, it could be one of four different viruses – Ebola Sudan, E. Zaire, E. Ivory Coast and E. Reston. The latter is an Asian variant and there are no recorded instances of human infection. The former three have all been isolated as causes of the disease in humans.
- It is caught by contact with infected animals or people, and in particular with their bodily fluids.
- E. Zaire is believed the most virulent strain, with a fatality rate in humans of 80%; Ebola Sudan has a fatality rate of 50%.
- Ebola was first recorded, in the Sudan, in 1976; the next outbreak was in Zaire in 1979. It then vanished for 15 years before emerging in the Ivory Coast in 1994.
- There is no known cure for Ebola; the virus cannot be killed, although some patients seem to have the ability to fight it. Treatment is by support, with intravenous fluids, oxygen, fever control and antibiotics provided in the hope the patient beats the disease.
- Prevention is a problem as it is never known where, or when, an outbreak may occur.
- Ebola transmission:
What Is Ebola?
Ebola is a viral disease that has its origins in Africa, as far as we know. Contrary to common belief it does not always result in the grotesque images that are depicted in many descriptions. It is a painful disease, however, and sufferers do experience internal organ failure in some cases. The origins of the virus that causes Ebola are not known, and science has difficulty investigating a condition that as unpredictable as Ebola. There have been around 1,800 known cases – almost all of which have occurred in Africa – with 1,200 deaths recorded.
As yet there is no known cure for Ebola. Treatment of Ebola involves keeping the patient fed with fluids, administering antibiotics and medicines to combat fever, keeping the patient with plenty oxygen and generally caring for them as they attempt to fight the virus. Many do survive is care is administered correctly.
From What Place Did The Ebola Virus Get Its Name?
The Ebola virus was first recognized in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, and is named after a river close to the place it was first found. It has since been seen in a few other locations, as outbreaks tend to be specific in location and sporadic. It is not known where the virus ‘hides’ between outbreaks, or why this should occur, and it is a great hindrance to scientific analysis of the disease.
We hope that this article has helped you to understand more about Ebola – one of the deadliest viruses known to man – and also that it is a very rare occurrence. We believe we have also given you relevant information on how to spot the signs of Ebola, and what can be done to help the patient.