Scary Facts and Classes of The Deadly Ebola Virus

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Overview of Ebola Virus

HIV/Aids was the most dreaded disease in Nigeria before the arrival of the Ebola Virus. The outbreak first occurred on the 6th of August 2014. Which was found to have originated from a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer.According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a virus transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. That is, by consumption of wild animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead are natural hosts Ebola virus.

And for human-to-human transmission, the Ebola spreads through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids (including mucus, breast milk, and sweat) of infected people (burial ceremonies that involve direct contact with the body of the deceased also transmits the Ebola Virus) and also the surfaces and materials (pen, clothes etc) contaminated with these fluids. Thankfully, the virus is not air borne.

The Outbreak of Ebola virus normally results to 5 dead cases/incidences in a day including several health workers, leading to nationwide panic and also putting the World Health Organization, Centre for Disease Control, America and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on high alert. This article was comprehensively assembled to help you understand the Ebola Virus, causes, symptoms, cures/treatment/vaccines and of course, preventive measure you should take.

History of The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

The virus was first reported in 1976 in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where killed 151 and 280 people, respectively. Because of its high mortality rate (up to 83-90%), it is one of the most feared in the world. Humans are not infectious until some symptoms are displayed.

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Image credit: The living moon

The time interval from infection to onset of symptoms is usually between 2 and 21 days. Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headaches and sore throat These are the common symptoms of the Ebola Virus. Then followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, low white blood cell and platelet counts, impaired kidney and liver function, internal and external bleeding.

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A vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV used un Guinea in the year 2015, proved to be effective. There is as no proven cure available for Ebola. However, a range of potential treatments includes Supportive care-rehydration, treatment of specific symptoms also improves survival, blood products, immune and drug therapies are currently being evaluated.

 

Classification/Types of Ebola Virus

Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) also referred to as the Zaire virus, ZEBOV  practically has the highest case-fatality rate, up to 90% in some epidemics, with an average case fatality rate of approximately 83% over 27 years. There have been more outbreaks of Zaire ebolavirus than of any other species. The first outbreak took place on 26 August 1976 in Yambuku. Mabalo Lokela, a 44‑year-old schoolteacher, became the first recorded case. The symptoms resembled malaria, and subsequent patients received quinine. Transmission has been attributed to reuse of unsterilized needles and close personal contact. The virus is responsible for the 2014 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak, with the largest number of deaths to date.

Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) 

Just like ZEBOV Virus, SUDV emerged in 1976; it was at first assumed to be identical with ZEBOV.  SUDV is believed to have broken out first amongst cotton factory workers in Nzara, Sudan (now in South Sudan), in June 1976, with the first case reported as a worker exposed to a potential natural reservoir. Scientists tested local animals and insects in response to this; however, none tested positive for the virus. The carrier is still unknown. The lack of barrier nursing (or “bedside isolation”) facilitated the spread of the disease. The average fatality rates for SUDV were 54% in 1976, 68% in 1979, and 53% in 2000 and 2001.

Reston ebolavirus (RESTV) 

This virus was discovered during an outbreak of simian hemorrhagic fever virus (SHFV) in crab-eating macaques from Hazleton Laboratories (now Covance) in 1989. Since the initial outbreak in Reston, Virginia, it has since been found in nonhuman primates in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Siena, Italy. In each case, the affected animals had been imported from a facility in the Philippines, where the virus has also infected pigs. Despite its status as a Level‑4 organism and its apparent pathogenicity in monkeys, RESTV did not cause disease in exposed human laboratory workers.

Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV)

The Tai Forest Ebola virus formerly known as “Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus”, it was first discovered among chimpanzees from the Tai Forest in Côte d’IvoireAfrica, in 1994 .Necropsies showed blood within the heart to be brown; no obvious marks were seen on the organs; and one necropsy displayed lungs filled with blood. Studies of tissues taken from the chimpanzees showed results similar to human cases during the 1976 Ebola outbreaks in Zaire and Sudan.

As more dead chimpanzees were discovered, many tested positive for Ebola using molecular techniques.

The source of the virus was believed to be the meat of infected western red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius) upon which the chimpanzees preyed. One of the scientists performing the necropsies on the infected chimpanzees contracted Ebola. She developed symptoms similar to those of dengue fever approximately a week after the necropsy, and was transported to Switzerland for treatment. She was discharged from hospital after two weeks and had fully recovered six weeks after the infection.

Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV)

On November 24, 2007, the Uganda Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in the Bundibugyo District. After confirmation of samples tested by the United States National Reference Laboratories and the CDC, the World Health Organization confirmed the presence of the new species. On 20 February 2008, the Uganda Ministry officially announced the end of the epidemic in Bundibugyo, with the last infected person discharged on 8 January 2008. An epidemiological study conducted by WHO and Uganda Ministry of Health scientists determined there were 116 confirmed and probable cases the new Ebola species, and that the outbreak had a mortality rate of 34% (39 deaths).

Conclusion

The best preventive measures against the Ebola Virus includes abstaining from consuming the wild animals, avoid direct contact with the infected person(s), good hygiene, wash your hand property after contact with certain surfaces and finally have a clean environment.

Health-care workers and Laboratory workers caring for patients with suspected or infected with the Ebola virus should apply extra infection control measures to prevent infection.

Although Ebola represents a major public health issue in sub-Saharan and Central Africa today, I’m sure you know all there is to about the Ebola Virus and I’m certain that you will follow these step and live a healthy and disease-free life.

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