Over the years, the world has witnesses series of infectious disease outbreaks ranging from Tuberculosis and chickenpox to Influenza. However, the world came to a standstill when and infectious disease called Ebola resurrected in the continent of Africa and devasted over three countries and put the rest of the world into extreme fear and panic mood. The Ebola virus brings the most frightening of infectious disease syndrome to mind.
This paper will talk about background of Ebola virus, what causes Ebola, its mode of transmission.
Historically, the year 1976 witnessed a strange illness near a river called Ebola in an African country called Democratic Republic of Congo. The disease was name after the river Ebola This was when the first outbreak of Ebola was established. There were 318 cases recorded and this disease claimed as many as 280 lives (Walsh,Biek,&Real,2005). Around the same year, Sudan, another country in Africa, also witnessed 284 cases with fatality rate of 53%. Back in the states, in 1989, in Reston, Virginia, several monkeys were killed by what was suspected to be different species of the Ebola virus. The most outbreaks of Ebola has been through 2014 to 2016 and have substantially complicated since the first discovery of the disease.
Causes and mode transmission of Ebola: It is believed that Ebola was first introduced to human being through closed contact with blood, secretion and other bodily fluids which are infected by monkeys, antelope, chimpanzees, fruit-bats and porcupines. So far, there has been a suspicion that Ebola virus can be contracted through any form of sexual contact by infected people
Also, burial arrangement that involve direct contact with the deceased body, can also contribute in the transmission of Ebola.
Scientifically, the Ebola disease is caused filovirus and five distinct species depending on the area or region it occurs. For example, if it occurs in Philippines, it will be called Reston ebolavirus or when it happens in Sudan, it is called ebolavirus. It is infectious and causes acute illness rapidly fatal with death rate of about 90%. The initial symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever are higher fever, malaise, chills, and myalgia, vomiting of blood, diarrhea and abdominal pain. There are other symptoms like drained of strength, sore throat, edema and severe bleeding at venipuncture site. Ebola virus can affect the immune system directly.
The incubation period of the Ebola virus is between two to twenty one days the exposure. Diagnostically, it is extremely difficult to differentiate Ebola virus from other infectious disease like malaria or typhoid fever. Similarly, it is difficult to clinically differentiate Ebola virus from meningitis. Interestingly, many of the Ebola prone areas like Liberia have serious problem to deal with symptoms of malaria. That was one of many reasons why many people got infected with Ebola because they thought the initial symptoms was that of Malaria. However, confirmation of Ebola symptoms are made through diagnostic methods like antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) , antigen-capture detection tests serum neutralization test, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, electron microscopy, virus isolation by cell culture. (“Ebola virus disease,” 2018).
The WHO recommends that the preferred specimens for diagnosis should include, whole blood be collected in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) from a live patients showing symptoms. And also, an oral fluid specimen stored in universal transport medium collected from deceased patients or when blood collection is not possible. (“Ebola virus disease,” 2018).
When it comes to prevention and control, there should be measures and interventions put in place to control Ebola. There should be package of interventions like management, surveillance, contact tracing, good laboratory services, safe burial and public education.
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