Ebola: Human Soup Maker

I chose to do my report of the Ebola Virus because it is a very deadly, and it’s a virus that isn’t publicized much in newspapers and televisions. So I think it’s a good choice. The Ebola virus is one of the worlds most deadly viruses, in all of its many forms.

The purpose of this essay is to explain the history, signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus. Between the years 425BC ; 430BC Athens’ population was dramatically reduced when about 300,000 of its inhabitants died from some sickness. People now believe this sickness was Ebola.

The first recorded outbreak of the Zaire string of the Ebola virus was in Zaire in the year 1976. Doctors didn’t know how to treat it, that also means they didn’t know how to contain it. The infected people would meet in public areas, and the virus would spread. In western Sudan, the same year, the Sudan string of the Ebola virus immerged with similar results. In both types of the Ebola virus, combined had 550 infections and 340 deaths, which is a 60% fatality rate. The viruses then laid dormant until 1979, when Sudan was hit again with a smaller infection rate of 34 infections and 22 deaths. As before the fatality rate was about 60%.

In 1987 a new string of the Ebola virus was discovered. This string was called the Reston string. This string was air born and it was a mutation of the Zaire string. A group of monkeys that where infected got sent to Virginia from the Philippines. Luckily the string doesn’t infect Homo Sapiens. A lot of workers came in contact with the monkeys, and none of them died, or even showed signed of illness.

In Kikwit, Zaire there was another outbreak in 1995. This time a patient was admitted to a hospital, the doctors thought he had Malaria. The surgeons decided to operate because of his worsening symptoms. The whole surgical team came in contact with the patients body fluids, and they were all infected. From this operating room, 293 cases were recorded and 233 deaths, which means a higher fatality rate. In the later part of 1995 another string of the Ebola virus was discovered. A Swiss researcher in West Africa was the first to get the Tai string of the Ebola virus. She got it from a chimpanzee in the Tai forest. She was taken to a hospital where she recovered well.

Ebola is found in the blood, so when blood tests are taken, the conditions are under a “maximum contamination condition”. If there is a suspicion of the Ebola virus, immediate isolation from the other patients is a must. All instruments, clothing, and biological matter must be immediately disposed of or disinfected.

Ebola can be transmitted through bodily fluids of those infected and be handling dead chimpanzees. Many Africans depend on monkey meat as a source of protein, thus, giving another way for the virus to spread. Early symptoms of Ebola include: fatigue, lower back pain, nausea, sudden fever, weakness, muscle pain, and sore throat. The blood no longer clots which causes serious problems. These symptoms are followed by: vomiting, diarrhea, rash, eye inflammation, roof of mouth turns red, genital swelling, depression, increased sense of pain in skin, intestinal bleeding, bleeding from eyes, bleeding from ears, bleeding from nose, limited kidney function, limited liver function, and external bleeding. Capillaries start to bleed which leads to loss of internal volume, and then soon death. Those victims at this stage are often delirious, combative and difficult to control. Basically Ebola turns the inside of its victims to liquid. From the time of infection, the victim should either die, or show improvements in 5-10 days. Incubation lasts 2-21 days, the period of incubation depends on how the victim was infected, if the virus entered directly into the blood stream, the symptoms would come about much faster. Ebola can be transmitted threw a males semen and can be transmitted 7 weeks after clinical recovery. One of the long term effects of Ebola, is major hair loss.

There is currently no cure for the Ebola virus. There are some treatments that can help the patient recover. The main thing is that the patient be treated for shock. Then fresh blood and/or platelet transfusions are given to try to correct the bleeding problems as soon as possible. To contain Ebola, many safety factors are put into place. The patient is isolated from others. The doctors and nurses wear masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles. After disposable materials are removed from the patients room, they are usually burned. Ebola is easily destroyed by disinfectants, so all hard surfaces are disinfected often. Reusable materials are sterilized.

The Ebola virus can be diagnosed by the detection of Ebola antigens, antibodies, or genetic material. It can also be found with the help of a culture from any of the three sources. With such a high mortality rate of 60% to 90%, it is obvious that there is no cure for such a powerful virus. In comparison to AIDS (which is a level 2 pathogen) the Ebola virus is at a level 4 pathogen, only the deadliest known to man get this classification, yet the range of severity could be relatively mild or fatal. That leaves a lot open to fate and your immune system.