What is Ebola Virus? Know The Facts, How Can One Get Infected, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, Its Chances of Spreading in USA
Ebola Virus Facts
This is one of the deadliest viruses to have struck the surface of the earth in West Africa in the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia accounting for more than 1000 lives with the numbers still counting. Researchers believe that this outbreak started from a 2-year-old boy who died in the village of Gueckedou, which is in the South Eastern part of Guinea which is an intersection of three nations which are Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the most affected countries with this virus. According to latest report, this virus has accounted for the life of a priest in Spain who contracted this disease in Liberia. This rare but extremely deadly virus causes bleeding both internally and externally in the body.
What Is Ebola Virus?
The name Ebola is given to this virus from the Ebola River in Congo where this disease was first reported. Ebola Virus is a rare but an extremely deadly virus which causes bleeding both internally and externally in the body. As this virus spreads in the body, it starts to impair the immune system and other vital organs. In its advanced stage, it affects the clotting of blood resulting in extremely severe uncontrollable bleeding. Ebola Virus which is also known by the name of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever is so deadly that it kills approximately 90% of people who are infected with it.
How Can A Person Get Infected With Ebola Virus?
Ebola Virus is not as contagious as some of the other viruses like cold, flu, or measles. This virus spreads through contact by skin or body fluids of an infected person. The people most prone to this virus are those caring for an infected person or people who bury a person who has died from the infection. Apart from this, Ebola Virus can spread through contaminated needles and/or surfaces. This virus does not get airborne hence it does not spread through air, water, or food substances.
Symptoms Of Ebola Virus
During the initial stages, a person infected with Ebola Virus will have symptoms similar to flu. As the disease progresses, the infected will start to observe the following symptoms:
- High fever
- Muscle and joint pains
- Sore throat
- Extreme weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite loss
In the advanced stages of the disease, there is internal bleeding along with bleeding from the nose, ears, or eyes. There may be presence of hemoptysis as well.
Diagnosis of Ebola Virus
At times, it is extremely tough to decipher just from the symptoms whether an individual has Ebola Virus. The physician will order tests to rule out other conditions before confirming Ebola Virus. The usual test to diagnose Ebola Virus is a blood test. Once Ebola Virus is confirmed, the affected individual will be quarantined to avoid spread of the disease.
Treatment For Ebola Virus
At present, there is no cure for Ebola Virus, although studies are going on to try to find a vaccine or a medication for its treatment, including a serum which is said to kill the infected cells.
Ebola Virus Symptoms Management Is Done Using:
- Fluids and electrolytes
- Oxygen supplementation
- Blood pressure medications
- Blood transfusions
ZMAPP For Treating Ebola Virus
There is a drug named ZMapp which might help treat Ebola Virus but this is an untested drug on people. Two American aid workers who got infected with Ebola virus were administered ZMapp and became the first people in the world to get ZMapp and they both have survived and are undergoing treatment in hospital at Atlanta. There is an extremely short supply of this drug at the present time.
Can Ebola Virus Be Prevented?
Studies are still going on to find a vaccine for Ebola Virus but as of now the best way to avoid contracting this deadly virus is to stay away from countries where it is said to have spread. Physicians and other aid workers can prevent themselves by wearing safety masks and gloves when touching infected people.
Watch 3D Video of Ebola Virus
What Are The Chances Of Ebola Virus Spreading In United States?
As of now, this virus is limited to only West African countries. The chances of it spreading to United States as of now are extremely low per the Center for Disease Control. The CDC has put up strong safety measures for screening of people at airports who arrive from the affected countries or people who come to USA for treatment of this condition. The airline crew members have also been trained to identify symptoms of Ebola Virus.