The Ebola Virus is one of the most lethal viruses known and can kill quickly. There’s no vaccine against it, and there is no known treatment for its victims.
Scientists who study it do so in a maximum-security laboratory built with a ventilation system that prevents any airborne microbe from escaping. Before entering the laboratory, scientists clothe themselves in protective space-style suits and shower in disinfectant when they leave.
The protective gear worn by them; disposable gloves and caps, goggles, and special coveralls do not allow penetration by the virus.
A smaller outbreak occurred again in 1979 in Sudan. After that, except for a few isolated cases of people dying with Ebola-like symptoms, the disease vanished for years.
The 2014–2016 outbreaks in West Africa were the largest Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976. The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The 2018-2019 outbreak in eastern DRC was highly complex, as insecurity adversely affected public health response activities. On 1 June 2020, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared its eleventh Ebola outbreak since records began, following the revelation of new cases of Ebola in Equateur province, northwestern DRC.
It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Although it is not entirely clear how the virus is transmitted from bats to people, the most likely route is through contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
Knowing the host species for the other filoviruses is crucial. “Until we understand what that reservoir is, it is difficult to limit your encroachment on that specie,” says virologist John Dye of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
The time interval from infection with the virus to the initial phase of symptoms is from 2 to 21 days. A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until they develop symptoms which include: fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, which are followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash etc.
Since the Ebola virus kills people so quickly, scientists assume that the virus must survive in another organism. If health officials discover what type of organism carries the virus, then they may be able to take effective control and prevention measures to avoid future outbreaks.
An unanswered question about Ebola is where does the virus reside between human epidemics? The virus that causes Ebola is well understood but puzzling issues remain on topics such as the disease’s lethality and whether the virus can be stopped.
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