The Ebola virus

The Ebola virus infection was formerly called the Ebola hemorrhagic fever. It was first recognized in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976.The name Ebola came by  after it was identified in the Congolese region at Ebola  river , hence the name Ebola. The infection mostly had outbreaks in rural settings. In 2014, the infection hit urban areas in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, killing so many people by early 2015.

Ebola is a rare, severe and often fatal illness which attacks and destroys the immune system andbody organs. It causes extreme fluid loss in victims. The infection disrupts the blood-clotting system causing the blood-clotting cells to drop, leading to severe and uncontrollable bleeding inside and outside the body.

Earlier on, Ebola feels like flu to those affected. Symptoms begin 2 to 21 days after infection. They include headache, high fever, sore throat, joint and muscle pains, stomach pains, loss of appetite. It causes bleeding inside the body as it gets worse, as well as from the eyes, ears, and nose. Some people will vomit; cough up blood, diarrhea and get a rash.

Ebola is not contagious as common viruses. It spreads to people by contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an Ebola victim, an infected animal, like a monkey or by handling the victim’s corpse.  It then moves from person to person the same manner. One can easily get Ebola from contaminated surfaces or needles.A person cannot get Ebola from food, water or air. An infected person without the symptoms cannot spread the disease, either.

Sometimes it is so hard to notice that a person has the infection from the symptoms alone. Doctors test to rule out the other diseases like malaria and cholera. Other tests of blood and body tissues also can be used to diagnose Ebola. People who have the infection, get isolated from the public immediately to prevent the spread.

No cure for Ebola has been found, though researchers are working it. There is an experimental serum that destroys the infected cells and doctors do manage its symptoms with oxygen, blood pressure medication, blood transfusions, fluids and electrolytes. There is no vaccine to prevent Ebola. Clinical trials for two vaccines began in Liberia, with other plans for trials in Sierra Leone to be done as well. However, the drop in new cases of Ebola could hamper the determination of whether those vaccines are effective.

The best way to prevent the infection is to avoid travelling to areas where it is found. The health workers can prevent the disease by wearing protective equipment that is specifically made to resist the virus, e.g.  masks, goggles and gloves whenever they come across or get in contact with peoplewho have Ebola. Separating the exposed away from the general public for the infection’s 21 days incubation period could go a long way in preventing the spread of the disease. The potential Ebola carriers can be screened for symptoms and their travel history, a step currently taken for people travelling from West Africa to the United States.

Lastly, the people in hot spots of Ebola are more infectious than living victims, health workers warned against burial rituals that involved washingand touching the dead. Therefore, the dead were buried in deep mass graves.

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