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Ebole

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Ebola is one of the most deadly infectious diseases that we have discovered and researched. Its full name is Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. This disease is caused by several Ebola viruses (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever). It was discovered in 1976 and named after the Ebola River in Northern Congo, where it was first found (Rupp 48). There are 4 species of Ebola which are Ivory Coast ebolavirus, Reston ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, and Zaire ebolavirus (WHO). Ebola is part of the group of diseases called viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF). All viral hemorrhagic fevers begin with fever and muscle aches. Ebola is put in the Filoviridae family. It occurs in humans and other primates in whom there have been fifteen hundred cases identified, 80% of which have died from the disease (Ebola). It is most common in Central America and causes death in 50-90% of all clinically ill patients (WHO). When magnified several thousand times by a microscope, Ebola looks like threads (filaments) (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever). Ebola is a disease that breaks you down from the inside out. It's frightening and deadly.

Ebola brings gruesome symptoms. At first the disease is less intense with sudden fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches, and sore throat. But it progresses into a vicious disease causing vomiting, diarrhea, rash, limited kidney and liver functions and sometimes both internal and external bleeding and shock from such blood loss (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever). Other sources report massive internal bleeding (Rupp 48), chills, nausea (Interim Guidance For Humanitarian Workers), intense weakness, low counts of white blood cells and platelets as well as liver enzymes (WHO), uncontrolled vomiting, dizziness, trouble breathing, bleed from nose, mouth, and rectum, joint aches, and bloody diarrhea, muscle/joint/abdominal pain, severe weakness/exhaustion (Ebola). Symptoms often appear suddenly and the fever is usually at least one hundred one degrees Fahrenheit (thirty eight point eight degrees Celsius). Other secondary symptoms can be low blood pressure, red eyes from swollen blood vessels, red spots on the skin from subcutaneous bleeding, fast but weak pulse, and damage to organs such as the kidney or liver from co-localized necrosis and proteinuria (the occurrence of proteins in the urine). The incubation period is usually two to twenty one days. Sometimes, before an epidemic occurs, doctors misdiagnose patients, suggesting malaria, typhoid fever, dysentery or other more common bacterial diseases. The time from the first sign of symptoms to date of death is usually between seven and fourteen days (Ebola).

Ebola is most commonly transmitted through close person to person contact with an ill patient. It is also transmitted through contact with infected blood, body fluids, organs or semen (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever), body tissue, unsterilized needles or other equipment (Rupp 48), and direct contact with secretions (WHO). The transmission of Ebola often occurs within health-care facilities. It happens often to hospital-care workers and family members who care for the infected person with Ebola. The transmission of Ebola has also been linked to the re-use of unsterilized needles in the treatment of the patients; this happens often in countries such as Zaire and Sudan because they are still developing and their health-care is underfinanced. Although, it is safe to say that medical facilities inside the United States of America do not re-use needles (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever). Many times syringes are re-used also, which can transmit the disease (Table Ebola). Ebola can spread form person to person contact involving sexual intercourse/contact. Victims of Ebola who have survived and recuperated can still have the virus in there genital secretions for a short time after recovery. This poses a threat to their partner (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever). One way of transmission that many do not think about is the transmission from a dead body to a person attending a burial ceremony or possibly an autopsy. A scientist became ill in the Tai Forest after performing an autopsy on a wild chimpanzee. The deceased person can infect a person through close contact (WHO). Most hemorrhagic viruses have a host such as a rodent or an insect, which can carry the virus without becoming ill from it. Research has not yet identified the host for Ebola (Rupp 48), although, laboratory observations have shown that bats whom were experimentally infected with the disease did not die (WHO). The Ebola virus has been brought in the United States to Virginia, Texas, and Pennsylvania through shipments of monkeys imported from the Philippines. A chimpanzee, found dead in the forest, was eaten by a group of people. Nineteen of the people who were involved became infected and so did some of their family members (Table Ebola). Bodily fluids from diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding etc., pose as a great risk and an extreme biohazard as the disease progresses. Many transmissions of Ebola occur from the misuse or the ignoring the use of barrier nursing techniques. Barrier nursing techniques include the use of masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection when necessary and available. Also, simple procedures such as not using basic hygiene or sanitation, and the disposal of needles and autoclaves being too expensive have been the cause of transmission of the disease (Ebola). Because of the deficiency of proper equipment and hygienic practices, most large scale epidemics happen in poor, isolated areas where funding is scarce, and so are modern hospitals or well-educated medical employees (Ebola). Ebola starts off much less contagious, but as the disease worsens and the victim starts to vomit uncontrollably and other bodily fluids are constantly exposed, everything that comes out of the patient is an extreme biohazard and the disease tries to find its next host.

Sadly, the Ebola virus has no current cure or vaccine although, recent research and experimenting has produced vaccines for Ebola and Marburg that are one hundred percent effective in protecting a group of monkeys from the disease. There has not yet been any testing of these vaccines on humans (Ebola). Severe cases require intensive and supportive care (Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever). The reason many cases require intensive care is because patients are often dehydrated and need intravenous fluids containing electrolytes (WHO). Eighty to ninety percent of all people who become infected die. Prevention efforts can include the education of people about how the virus is transmitted and isolating the patient to lower the risk of it spreading (Rupp 48). When traveling to an area where Ebola outbreaks have been reported, you should bring a basic first aid kit and medical supplies, including a thermometer, household disinfectant, alcohol-based hand rubs for hand hygiene, and a supply of surgical masks and disposable gloves. Travelers should also be up to date

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