Ebola in the Air - The New Indian Express

Ebola in the Air

Published: 10th August 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 09th August 2014 07:16 PM

As the world is gripped in the fear of Ebola, Sierra Leone deployed troops to ensure that patients and family members who may be infected remain isolated, and British Airways suspended flights to these countries. The first cases of Ebola were reported simultaneously in 1976 in Yambuku and its surrounding areas, near the Ebola River in Zaire, which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Nzara, Sudan. Since then, eruptions or asymptomatic cases of Ebola viruses in humans and animals have surfaced intermittently.

Ebola virus disease (EVD), previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF), is a serious, often fatal condition in humans and non-human primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees. Ebola is one of several viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF), caused by infection with a virus of the Filoviridae family, genus Ebolavirus.

Ebola has a case fatality rate of up to 90 per cent and is currently one of the world's most infectious diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. Some facts about it are:

■ It has been hypothesized by researchers that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne).

■ In an outbreak or isolated case among humans, the manner in which the virus is transmitted from the natural reservoir to a human is unclear.

■ Ebola tends to spread quickly through families and friends as they are exposed to infectious secretions when caring for an ill individual.

■ The time interval from infection with Ebola to the onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days.

■ EVD is often characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

■ There is currently no licensed vaccine available for Ebola.

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