What is Ebola?
Ebola virus disease (EVE) is a serious disease, often fatal in humans. The virus was detected for the first time in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks occurred in Nzara (now South Sudan) and Yambuku (the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
The village where the second one occurred is located near the Ebola River, which gives its name to the virus.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is caused by a virus. It is a serious and often fatal disease. It can affect humans and other primates. Researchers believe that humans contract it through an infected animal. It can be spread from person to person by blood or secretions.
Symptoms of Ebola
Symptoms can appear between two and 21 days after exposure to the virus. In general, they include:
- Pain in the muscles and joints
- Stomach ache
- Lack of appetite
Other symptoms include rash, redness of the eyes and internal and external bleeding.
The first symptoms are similar to those of other common diseases. This makes it difficult to diagnose a person who has been infected for a short time.
However, if a person has these symptoms and there is a suspicion of Ebola, the patient should be isolated in quarantine.
It is also important to notify the health authorities. Several laboratory tests can confirm the diagnosis of Ebola.
There is no cure for Ebola. Treatment consists of providing supportive care such as fluids, oxygen, and treatments for complications. Some people with Ebola recover, but many do not.
What happens when someone has Ebola?
Ebola, in general, begins with symptoms such as fever and headache. These symptoms are similar to those of the flu. But it can get worse and lead to dangerous bleeding and severe breathing difficulties.
It is very important that infected people receive treatment immediately. People who suffer from Ebola are treated in a special way so that the disease does not spread to doctors, nurses or other people in the family or the community in which they live.
How is it contracted?
Doctors are not sure how the first person gets Ebola when an outbreak begins, but it is believed that the virus may contract when touching or eating infected animals.
It is believed that the tropical animals of Africa that have the virus are the apes, gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, bats that feed on fruits, antelopes, and the porcupine.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with body fluids. People can get the virus by handling or touching drops of blood, urine (pee), saliva or other body fluids of a person infected with the disease.
They can also be spread by touching objects that have become contaminated with blood or infected fluids.
Therefore, Ebola can spread very quickly within families. It can also be extended quickly in treatment centers if people who care for the sick do not use personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks.
Ebola is not transmitted through water or food, as other viruses do. It also does not travel through the air like a cold or flu.
How contagious is it?
A person with Ebola is contagious after beginning to feel the symptoms of the virus that causes the disease. In areas where there is an Ebola outbreak, anyone who does not feel well should seek medical attention immediately and avoid contact with other people.
Once the person with Ebola begins to feel sick, it is contagious as long as the virus remains in the blood and body fluids. The virus can remain in the body for several weeks after it starts to feel better; which means you can still pass the virus to someone else.
That is why it is so important that people infected with the virus remain under the medical care and away from other people.
How long does it take for people to develop symptoms once they have become infected?
The incubation period, that is, the interval between infection and the onset of symptoms ranges from 2 to 21 days. Person-to-person transmission occurs only when symptoms appear. Ebola virus infections can only be confirmed through laboratory tests.
When should you seek medical assistance?
A person with symptoms similar to those of Ebola virus disease (fever, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea) who has been in contact with living or dead people who are suspected of having the disease, or who If you have traveled to a region where there are cases, you should seek medical assistance immediately.
Where are you from?
According to the experts, the natural carriers of this virus are frugivorous bats, although contagion cases have also been documented by contact with infected gorillas, chimpanzees or antelopes.
Can Ebola virus disease be prevented?
People can protect themselves from Ebola virus infection by taking specific measures to prevent and control the infection.
These measures consist, among other things, of washing hands, avoiding contact with the body fluids of people who are suspected or confirmed to have the disease, and refraining from handling or preparing corpses of people suspected or suspected of having has confirmed that they have died because of this disease.
Lethality rates range from 50 to 90%. The initial case usually coincides with the end of the rainy season. Cases may be sporadic and there may be small outbreaks in rural areas that often go unnoticed.
Major outbreaks happen once the case has been handled by health centers with low hygiene standards. Epidemiological data suggest that in Ebola infection most patients transmit the infection mainly to their relatives and close friends or to a smaller number of people.