Ebola virus

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Electron microscope picture of the Ebola virus
Ebola virus disease
Classification and external resources

1976 photograph of two nurses standing in front of Mayinga N., a person with Ebola virus disease; she died only a few days later.
ICD-10 A98.4
ICD-9 065.8
DiseasesDB 18043
MedlinePlus 001339
eMedicine med/626
MeSH D019142

Ebola virus, pronounced E- Bo-la, is a very dangerous virus. It causes a hemorrhagic fever called Ebola virus disease. ("Hemorrhagic" means the victim bleeds a lot, inside and outside their body.) It is very dangerous. Out of every 10 people who get Ebola, on average five to nine die. There are four kinds of Ebola virus that can cause the disease. The virus was first identified in Sudan. It is found in Africa and perhaps Asia.[1]

How people get Ebola[change | change source]

The disease lives in the blood or bodily fluids of some kinds of animals without killing them. Scientists think the animals it lives in are mainly some kinds of monkeys or fruit bats.[2] People can catch Ebola virus disease by touching the blood and body fluids of infected animals or people, when the virus goes from the infected animal or person into their body. When a human gets infected, the disease can spread between people as well.[2]

Transmission between people (giving the virus to someone) only happens when someone comes in contact with fluids from a person that is infected with the virus. Ebola cannot be caught through the air, or by being near to victims.[3] It can only be caught from another person, by touching a victim's blood, saliva, semen, diarrhea, vomit, or other fluids, or water that has been used by other victims. Then the virus can go from the fluid into their body.

People with Ebola virus disease bleed a lot. The bleed inside and outside their body. They have blood in their diarrhea and vomit. They bleed from their noses, mouths, and genitals. These liquids are very infectious (they can make other people get the virus.)

If a man survives the disease, he can still give other people the infection by having sex, for nearly another two months. This is because the virus can still be in the man's semen a long time, even after he stops being ill.

Symptoms of Ebola[change | change source]

When people get Ebola the first symptoms look like some other diseases. People get a fever, feel very tired, have headaches (pain in the head), pain in the stomach, pain in their joints, and pain in the throat. Sometimes people think they have other diseases like malaria or typhoid fever.

Later, people get much sicker. They have very bad bleeding. They get shock: low blood pressure, fast pulse (heart rate), and low blood circulation to the body. This causes their organs to get very sick. The organs stop working. This is called organ failure. Ebola also causes stiffness throughout the body which leaves victims bedridden. Hospitals give the best chance for a victim to stay alive. But no medicine or cure exists, so even in hospital, most people still die.

Treatment of Ebola[change | change source]

At this time, there is no cure. But if people get care quickly from doctors and nurses, more of them live. People with ebola need a lot of fluids to replace fluids lost from diarrhea, vomiting, and blood loss. The most important care is giving them water with a very small amount of salt and sugar in it. This is called oral rehydration. It helps to replace their fluids and blood. It is also important to give medicines in case they get bad blood pressure and blood circulation.

When people get Ebola, it is called an outbreak. If doctors see that an outbreak is happening, they try to stop it. They stop it by isolating people infected with the disease, or placing them in quarantine. This means keeping the blood and fluids from people with Ebola from touching other people. Then other people do not get the virus.

When an outbreak happens, many people come to try and help stop it. The World Health Organization is the most important group that tries to stop Ebola outbreaks.

Scientists are trying to find a vaccine for Ebola.

References[change | change source]

  1. Kevin J. Olival, Ariful Islam, Meng Yu, Simon J. Anthony, Jonathan H. Epstein, Shahneaz Ali Khan, Salah Uddin Khan, Gary Crameri, Lin-Fa Wang, W. Ian Lipkin, Stephen P. Luby, and Peter Daszak (2013). "Ebola Virus Antibodies in Fruit Bats, Bangladesh". Emerging Infectious Disease (CDC) 19 (2). doi:10.3201/eid1902.120524. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/2/12-0524_article.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Ebola virus disease Fact sheet N°103". World Health Organization. March 2014. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  3. "2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa". April 21 2014. http://www.who.int/ith/updates/20140421/en/. Retrieved 3 August 2014.