Free Ebola Virus Essay Sample
Origin of Ebola virus: Ebola virus causes an acute, serious disease (EVD), and Ebola diseases were known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever. Scientists have identified five different species of Ebola virus: Zaire, Sudan, Tai forest, Bundibugyo, and Reston. Cause of Ebola disease is due to the infection of a virus of Filoviridae family, of Ebolavirus genus. The virus of Filoviridae family first came into notice in 1967, and immediate source of the virus was green monkeys of Africa. (Peters, C., & Peters, J., 1999). In 1976 first reported case of Ebola disease appeared in two consecutive outbreaks in Sudan and in Democratic Republic of Congo, and the virus derived its name from the Ebola River of Congo. After the first Ebola outbreaks during 1976 to 1979 the virus then remained disappeared until 1994. Since the first appearance of the virus in 1976 the current outbreak in 2014 in West Africa is the largest Ebola outbreak that affected Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia most severely.
Where it is found in nature: Primary host of the Ebola disease causing virus is not positively identified till now. Depending on the gathered evidences and nature of similar other viruses, scientists believe that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, which are hunted for food in parts of Africa, are most likely the natural Ebola virus hosts. (Ebola virus disease, 2014) Non-human primates such as chimpanzees, gorillas are also suspected to be the possible source of Ebola virus for human, but they are not considered to be the initial reservoir source that produces the virus. Scientists now believe that human and non human primates are both susceptible to Ebola, and can get infected directly by the Ebola virus from the same natural reservoir species. (Ebola: Overview, history, origins and transmission, 2015)
Symptoms: The symptoms of the illness appear anytime between 2 to 21 days after exposure to the Ebola infection, but the average symptoms of the illness appear between 8 to 10 days. (Signs and Symptoms, 2014) Most common symptoms of the diseases are fever, muscle pain, severe headache, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, unexplained, and some infected persons also develop difficulty in breathing, swallowing, have rash, red eyes, but, once the infection reaches the bloodstream, unexplained hemorrhage leads to death in majority of the cases. (KENEALLY, M., 2014)
Modes of transmission: Ebola is not spread through air, water, or through the usual social contacts like shaking hands etc. There is no such evidence that the mosquitoes or other insects have the ability to transmit the Ebola virus. Only some species of mammals like human, monkeys, apes, bats can only get infected and transmit the virus. (Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease): Transmission, 2015) The Ebola virus is transmitted from human to human through close contact with blood, secretions, or other body fluid contact of the infected individual, and the infection is also transmitted through contact with the objects contaminated with infected secretions or the swallowed infectious materials may even contribute to the virus transmission. Ebola infected person can remain infectious for the virus as long as their blood body fluids contain the virus. Scientists believe that the possible route of first human transmission of Ebola virus was through direct contact of blood or contact with other body fluid of an infected animal, but how the first infected individual caught the disease is still a mystery.
Ebola virus as biological weapon: Due to the high mortality rate (50 to 90%) of the Ebola infected, the virus has the potential to be used as biological weapon, but, unlike most of the biological weapons the Ebola virus is sensitive to climatic condition, and the virus require very particular environment to survive once it is removed from the host. Biological weapons such as anthrax can be released into the environment very easily, can remain alive in adverse climatic conditions, and could infect many people very quickly. Modes of transmission of Ebola virus makes it less contagious than the other airborne viruses, and less attractive as biological weapon. According to the experts of bioterrorism the chance of Ebola virus being made into biological weapon is inconsiderable. (Palermo, E., 2014)
Treatments and preventions:
There is no specific treatment or vaccines available to prevent the Ebola virus diseases, and no treatment or preventive vaccines of Ebola have yet been approved for human use. Recovery from the Ebola disease depends on the immune response of the infected person and good supportive care. Intensive supportive care with intravenous rehydration, by maintaining the normal blood pressure (BP) and oxygen level in the body can improve survival of the Ebola infected individual. However, few preventive vaccines are in different stages of trial and development; and three to five of them have been shown to completely protect the Ebola in nonhuman primates. The individuals who recovered from Ebola infection develop antibodies against the disease. Whole blood transfusions or purified serum from the survivors of the diseases can be an effective therapy in Ebola outbreak. An expert panel of World Health Organization (WHO) recommended for implementing the therapy to transfer antibodies for treating the new patients of Ebola to counter the ongoing outbreak in West Africa. (Butler, D., 2014)
Practice of careful hygiene such as washing hands with soap or with liquid hand sanitizers, by avoiding unsafe contact with bats, nonhuman primates, and by staying away from direct and unprotected contact of the blood, secretions, and body fluids of the infected person are the best preventive measures to control the risk of person to person transmission of the Ebola virus.
Butler, D. (2014, September 5). Blood transfusion named as priority treatment for Ebola. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.nature.com/news/blood-transfusion-named-as-priority-treatment-for-ebola-1.15854.
Ebola: Overview, history, origins and transmission. (2015, January 29). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ebola-origins-reservoirs-transmission-and-guidelines/ebola-origins-reservoirs-transmission-guidelines.
Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease):Transmission. (2015, February 12). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/index.html.
Ebola virus disease. (2014, September). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/.
KENEALLY, M. (2014, July 28). How Ebola Emerged Out of the Jungle. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ebola-emerged-jungle-photos/story?id=24740453.
Palermo, E. (2014, August 8). Ebola Bomb: Possible, But Not So Easy to Make. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.livescience.com/47260-ebola-biological-weapon.html.
Peters, C., & Peters, J. (1999). An Introduction to Ebola: The Virus and the Disease. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 179(Supplement 1), Ix-Xvi. Retrieved April 3, 2015, from http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/179/Supplement_1/ix.long.
Rettner, R. (2014, September 22). Where Did Ebola Come From? Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.livescience.com/47946-where-did-ebola-come-from.html.
Signs and Symptoms. (2014, November 2). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/symptoms/index.html.