Ebola Virus Definition
Ebola is a very severe course of virus infection that causes a so-called hemorrhagic fever. That is, there is a high fever, as well as internal and external bleeding. The Ebola virus spreads through body fluids – in particular blood – from person to person. In 50 to 80 percent of the cases, the infection leads to death.
Internationally, there is an agreement to appoint hemorrhagic fevers after the region in which they have occurred for the first time. In this case, that’s the Ebola River in former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Since the first Ebola epidemic in 1976 in former Zaire, there was next to individual cases repeatedly, major outbreaks in countries in Central and West Africa. While the largest epidemics – in 1976 in Sudan and Zaire, 1995 and 2007 in the DRC, 2000 and 2007 in Uganda and 2003 in the Republic of Congo – diseased respectively 150-420 people, the mortality rate was up to 88 percent.
The biggest Ebola epidemic began in December 2013, in Guinea (West Africa) and since then spreads to surrounding states from (Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone). The number of cases is significantly higher than in previous epidemics. To date, 21,600 Ebola cases were detected, more than 8,600 of which were fatal. The last Ebola outbreak before it had taken place in November 2012 in Uganda.
- Pathogen: The cause of Ebola infection are viruses. The Ebola virus is a so-called RNA virus from the class of filoviruses (“thread virus”) that look under the electron microscope as very thin threads.
- Transmission Path: The Ebola virus spreads through body fluids (such as blood, saliva, semen) from person to person. Particularly at risk are doctors and those in close contact with a sick individual (for example, nurses). Further possibilities of infection are:
- Sexual contact: Special funeral ceremonies in which there is close contact with the dead who may still contagious. Scientists believe yet that fruit bats are the natural reservoir of the virus. Monkeys appear to represent a kind of intermediate support because people have often been infected after contact with infected monkeys or their consumption of the Ebola virus. Also, infected rodents come into question as an intermediary.
The first symptoms occur in Ebola about 2 to 21 days after infection. The patients suffer sudden under:
Fever (38.5 degrees Celsius, Ebola fever)
Ebola patients feel weakened rapidly and lose their appetite.
Other Ebola virus symptoms in the disease are:
There is heavy clotting disorders to outer turn and cause internal bleeding – especially
in the gastrointestinal tract and
on the mucous membranes in the eye, in the mouth, or genital area.
On the fifth day of illness shows a rash, the only light skin is but visible. Frequently it comes to neurological symptoms such as paralysis and psychoses. Organs such as kidneys and liver can fail in those affected.
Approximately 50 to 80 percent of the Ebola patients die from a state of shock, in which several vital organs fail (so-called. Multiorgan failure).
Ebola Virus Diagnosis
In Ebola symptoms of people show in conjunction with the geographical location of the disease is usually already the most important information. Did the doctor suspect a hemorrhagic fever, he secures the diagnosis
Blood tests or Electron microscopic detection of the Ebola virus from tissue samples.
Another option is to give the virus in the laboratory on a suitable culture medium and to observe whether it is increasing there. However, all these methods require special high-security laboratories, they can not or only insufficiently in most developing countries are carried out. Since the doctor at Ebola can make sure late diagnosis usually, it always comes back to larger Ebola outbreaks.
Ebola is a life-threatening infection and often takes a very serious history. After the incubation period (time from infection to the first symptoms), it is usually only to non-specific symptoms:
After about five to seven days of illness occur, then in some cases, the typical internal and external bleeding. It can lead to organs failure – this is often the cause of a fatal outcome of the Ebola disease.
Due to the very different numbers of diseased and dead only a broad range of 50 to 80 percent can be specified for mortality. After recovering from the disease, there is no complete immunity. Who gets a second time to Ebola, carries a lower risk of dying from it – that is, the mortality decreases generally.
Ebola Special Problems
Most Ebola infections occur in hospitals where Ebola patients are already treated. It is mainly due to:
the often poor hygienic conditions on the ground,
an insufficient supply of disinfected material and
the multiple uses of surgical kits and syringes.
The disease spread was always well curbed in the past when adequate hygiene and quarantine measures were available and purposefully were used.
The main problem with Ebola has not clarified the source of infection. So-called natural reservoir) so the species, which is home to the original virus without getting sick themselves thereto. Only when this source is found, doctors and scientists to clarify many of their questions about the infectious disease. Therefore, researchers investigated during the last epidemics numerous species of animals in the affected regions.
Currently, scientists assume that possibly fruit bats are the natural reservoir of the Ebola virus. That could the virus directly to humans to pass (for example, if bats are eaten) or indirectly via infected monkeys. There are Ebola cases in which the persons concerned have been infected by eating monkey meat. As these animals but themselves die also from the disease, they do not lend themselves as originating host.