The Deadly Virus
Knowing what the effects of Ebola is, isn't fun. Obviously, I wouldn't go to South Africa for a while. 2014 is the worst epidemic of Ebola, ever. It's not easily contagious. It doesn't travel through air, water, food, or insects that bite or sting. You'll only be effected with contact with the blood or body fluids of an Ebola victim. Luckily the U.S. was barely effected by the infection. There, of course, is treatment for Ebola. But, you have to find it right away because it spreads through the body, "like a wildfire".
There is as yet no known effective medication or vaccine. The director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has stated that the scientific community is still in the early stages of understanding how infection with the Ebola virus can be treated and prevented. A number of experimental treatments are being considered for use in the context of this outbreak, and are currently or will soon undergo clinical trials, but it will still be some time before sufficient quantities have been produced for widespread trials. On 13 November, Médecins Sans Frontières announced that trials of possible treatments would start during November in Ebola treatment centres.
The virus spreads by direct contact with body fluids, such as blood, of an infected human or other animals. This may also occur through contact with an item recently contaminated with bodily fluids. Spread of the disease through the air between primates, including humans, has not been documented in either laboratory or natural conditions. Semen or breast milk of a person after recovery from EVD may still carry the virus for several weeks to months. Fruit bats are believed to be the normal carrier in nature, able to spread the virus without being affected by it. Other diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid fever, meningitis and otherviral hemorrhagic fevers may resemble EVD. Blood samples are tested for viral RNA, viral antibodies or for the virus itself to confirm the diagnosis.
- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
- The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
- The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in West Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas.
- Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilisation.
- Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
- There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation.