Ebola virus disease is a serious illness that can often be fatal. It is caused by the Ebola virus, which is transmitted to humans from wild animals. Healthy people can become infected with Ebola if they come in contact with an infected person. The disease was earlier referred to as 'The Dreaded Ebola Infection'.
► The first incidence of Ebola infection and outbreak in humans occurred in Africa in 1976.
► The Ebola virus is named after the Ebola River, its origin.
► The Ebola virus can remain in semen up to three months after recovery.
► There are at present five Ebola viruses that have been identified and four of these can infect humans.
► The 2014 Ebola outbreak began in the month of March.
How is Ebola Virus Transmitted?
Fruit bats have been identified as hosts of Ebola virus. It is transmitted to humans when they come in contact with infected animals such as gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees, antelope, porcupines and of course fruit bats. Any contact with organs, body fluids, blood and secretions of infected animals can transmit the Ebola virus to humans.
How is Ebola Virus Transmitted Human-to-Human?
Ebola virus can transmit from one human to another through direct contact with an infected person. This can be through blood, organs, secretions and organs of infected people. This need not be only direct contact through broken skin or membranes. If a healthy person comes into contact with clothing and bedding, which are contaminated with infected fluids from the Ebola virus, even then it gets transmitted to a healthy person.
What are the Symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease?
The symptoms of Ebola virus infection take sometime to manifest. Most people begin showing symptoms after a week or 10 days. The initial symptoms are fever, sore throat, muscle pain, stomach pain and headache. After that the symptoms also include rash, vomiting, chest pains, diarrhea, red eyes, internal bleeding and external bleeding. The infected person can also show signs of problematic liver and kidney functions.
The initial symptoms are the same for some other diseases such as typhoid, malaria and meningitis, hence it is not easy to diagnose Ebola infection.
How is Ebola Virus Diagnosed?
Special tests to confirm the diagnosis are undertaken. The blood or fluid samples from the infected persons are sent for-
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