Ebola Viral Disease
What Is Ebola Viral Disease
Ebola Viral Disease (EBV) is a very serious infection caused by one of 4 of the 5 different strains of the Ebola virus. The four viruses are: Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Ebola virus (EBOV), Sudan virus (SUDV), and Taï Forest virus (TAFV, formerly and more commonly Côte d’Ivoire Ebolavirus (Ivory Coast Ebolavirus, CIEBOV)). EVD produces symptoms that may mimic several other infectious diseases found in Equatorial Africa such as: Marburg virus disease (MVD), other viral hemorrhagic fevers, falciparum malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, rickettsial diseases, cholera, among others.
Although the circulatory system is frequently involved, actual haemorrhaging is infrequent (fewer than 10% of cases). Total blood loss is not usually sufficient to cause death which is more often due to failure of key internal organs due to loss of body fluid from the gastrointestinal track.
How Do You Get Ebola Viral Disease?
The first person to be infected in an outbreak usually has some exposure to dead primates (monkeys) that harbour the virus, especially when slaughtering them. This first infection then starts a chain of infection from person to person.
People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person. Thus, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for infected persons or preparing them for burial. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
Infections may be spread in clinics, hospitals or other health care settings when staff fail to take appropriate precautions before they recognize the patient has Ebola.
Recently, it has been documented that the virus may persist in the semen of recovered patients for some time. As such, the virus may also be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
Susceptibility and Resistance
All humans are susceptible.
What Are The Symptoms?
EVB initially mimics influenza with general fatigue, fever with chills, joint and muscle aches and chest pain. Nausea leads to abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and vomiting. A sore throat, cough, and shortness of breath may occur. The central nervous system is affected by the development of severe headaches, agitation, confusion, fatigue, depression, seizures, and sometimes coma.
Although the circulatory system is frequently involved, actual haemorrhaging is infrequent (fewer than 10% of cases). A rash with bruises may occur. Total blood loss is not usually sufficient to cause death which is more often due to failure of key internal organs due to severe dehydration.
In health care settings, if cases of the disease do appear, health-care providers must employ practical strict isolation precautions, or barrier nursing techniques. These techniques include the wearing of protective clothing, such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles; the use of infection-control measures, including complete equipment sterilization; and the isolation of Ebola patients from contact with unprotected persons.
In the presence of an outbreak, education of the community regarding avoidance of direct contact with infected or deceased persons is critical for controlling the spread of the virus.
There are no specific treatments for this infection. Treatment is primarily supportive, i.e., maintaining hydration, managing organ failure, maintaining oxygen levels, etc.
Where Does It Commonly Occur?
The exact distribution of Ebola virus in nature is not known. Confirmed human cases of Ebola have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and the Republic of the Congo. A different strain of Ebola, called Ebola-Reston, infects monkeys in the Philippines.