Diagnosis and cure: All you need to know about Ebola virus outbreak

The practice of consuming bushmeat in many parts of Africa may be one of the main reasons for the infections.

Written by Durgesh Haridas | New Delhi | Updated: October 16, 2014 1:25 pm
Ebola, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a type of viral fever that affects humans and non-human primates. Ebola, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a type of viral fever that affects humans and non-human primates.

Ebola, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a type of viral fever that affects humans and non-human primates (apes, gorillas, chimpanzees etc). The Ebola Virus is a filovirus, a filamentous or a tube-shaped particle.

The natural reservoir or the host of this virus is yet to be identified, but scientific evidence suggests that bats are the most likely culprits.

File - In the Oct. 3, 2014 file photo, hazardous material cleaners prepare to hang black plastic outside The Ivy Apartments in Dallas. A 15-member crew from the Cleaning Guys of Fort Worth labored for four days at the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan stayed when he began showing Ebola-related symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. (Source: AP) File – In the Oct. 3, 2014 file photo, hazardous material cleaners prepare to hang black plastic outside The Ivy Apartments in Dallas. A 15-member crew from the Cleaning Guys of Fort Worth labored for four days at the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan stayed when he began showing Ebola-related symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. (Source: AP)

Originating in Africa, the virus has five species or strains – Zaire ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Reston ebolavirus and the Tai Forest ebolavirus. The Zaire and the Sudan species have caused maximum human casualties.

The practice of consuming bushmeat in many parts of Africa may be one of the main reason’s for human infections. Carcasses of animals like gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos have shown traces of the virus and partially eaten fruits and seeds (that contain saliva) dropped by bats are presumed to be the source of their infection.

The current outbreak in West Africa is due to the Zaire ebolavirus. It has historically been the cause behind most deaths among all the known strains. The disease was first detected in Sudan and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1976.

Signs and symptoms

The initial symptoms are like any other viral fever – chills, sudden bouts of fever, body ache and loss of appetite. Progressively, the patient starts developing a skin rash, spasms of abdominal pain and drastic weight-loss coupled with diarrhea and nausea.

The symptoms start to appear anywhere between 2-21 days after exposure to the ebolavirus. The infection affects the CNS (Central Nervous System) causing severe headaches, and even seizures. Certain patients have slipped into an induced coma.

Ebola causes the internal organs to fail and the patient experiences unstoppable internal and external bleeding or hemorrhage.

Diagnosis

The immediate diagnosis of Ebola is almost impossible as most of its symptoms are that of any common viral fever, but medical practitioners must not rule out the disease and must carry out the necessary tests.

The antigens in the patient’s blood are tested and the virus isolation is carried out to confirm its presence. IgM and IgG ELISA tests are conducted. (ELISA is Antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.)

Treatment

With no known cure or vaccine for the disease, an Ebola patient can only undergo supportive therapy. The body fluids, oxygen levels and electrolytes should be maintained and monitored. The patient must be placed in isolation and the body fluids (masks, tissues etc) and clothing of the infected person must be disposed properly in order to ensure no further spread of the disease.

Visitors and observers including medical personnel should exercise caution and wear medical-rated disposable gloves, face masks goggles and medical gown at all times. The medical equipment and premises should be sterilized.

Prevention

The prevention of Ebola is still a very challenging task as it is still unknown how humans really contract the disease. Standard quarantine and isolation procedures should be strictly followed and contact with the blood or any body fluid of the patient should be avoided at all costs.

Dr. Kent Brantly (R) wears protective gear while treating a patient at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. (Source: Reuters) Dr. Kent Brantly (R) wears protective gear while treating a patient at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. (Source: Reuters)

Medical personnel should employ barrier nursing techniques and in the case of the patient’s death his/her body must be disposed off carefully and contact to body fluids of even the deceased person must be avoided at all costs.

Ebola can affect dogs and pigs as well. Dogs are asymptomatic, but swine can contract the clinical disease. The main source of the virus spreading from infected persons and animals is via contact with the body fluids. Airborne particles of body fluids is a major contributor.

Current Crisis and Outbreak

The most recent outbreak of Ebola was recorded first in Guinea in February 2014. By April, the number of cases had increased to 242, including 142 deaths which meant the fatality rate was at 59 per cent.

The disease soon spread to the bordering countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone with each of them recording 300+ cases and 150+ deaths.The Liberian government banned public gatherings and also closed it land borders.

Ebola3 (Source: CDC)

 

Sierra Leone installed check points along its road borders where people were checked for symptoms of the disease. The first case of the disease was reported in Nigeria.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has held meetings with global health officials to discuss ways to curb further spread of the disease. The European Union (EU) has allocated an amount of €3.9 million to fight the outbreak.

West African airliner ASKY suspended all flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone, after a man arriving from Liberia died in Lagos after contracting Ebola in Nigeria on July 25th.

Most the the West African countries affected by the epidemic have relatively poor medical facilities and major portion of their population as little or no access to even basic healthcare. Organisations and NGOs like Doctors Without Borders and Samaritan’s Purse have taken special steps to set up clinics and medical centers to detect cases and treat the affected people.

They have also embarked on a journey to educate the people and train volunteers to spread awareness about Ebola.

Other West African countries like Togo, Ghana and Senegal conducted tests on a few suspected cases, but all have turned out to be negative so far.

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  1. V
    VirusCancerKiller
    Jan 25, 2015 at 6:02 am
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  2. A
    Alexander Wilson
    Dec 4, 2014 at 10:38 pm
    I USED TO HAVE HIV,,,AND I WORK WITH THE U.S ARMY......I LOOKED FOR CURE ALMOST ROUND THE WORLD,NOT UNTIL I CONTACTED A GREAT SPIRITUALIST,I NARRATED MY PREDICAMENT TO HIM,I WAS SHOCKED HE SAID''NO CAUSE FOR ALARM'''I SEND HIM MY PHOTO,,,,HE SAID HE WILL NEED TO BUY SOME ITEMS,AND I PAID FOR IT...AFTER THREE DAYS HE TOLD ME TO GO FOR TEST AGAIN,......MY FRIENDS YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT WAS NEGATIVE....NOW I'M SOUND AND HEALTHY STILL WORKING WITH THE U.S ARMY ..I BELIEVE HE CAN CURE ANY TYPE OF SICKNESS ,BECAUSE HE ALSO CAST A SPELL FOR A FRIEND OF MINE,THAT MADE HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND CAME BACK TO HIM.HIS PERSONAL EMAIL ADDRESS IS:- kilimanjarospells101@gmail, WEBSITE:-WWW.kilimanjarospells REGARDS,Alexander.
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  3. I
    Indian
    Oct 16, 2014 at 8:32 am
    It's Horrible. Everyone should take care.
    Reply
  4. K
    Kate Wyane
    Nov 2, 2014 at 7:46 am
    My name is Henry,i am from Liberia I am here to give my testimony about a doctor who cured me from Ebola virus.i went to many hospitals, churches for cure but there was no solution to my problem, so I was thinking how can I get a solution so that i will not loose my life,i was having this dangerous disease for the past three months and i did not want to die young.both my friends and my family run away for me,because they did not want to be affected with the disease,because it is very dangerous.one faithful day i went to online to look for a good spell caster that can help me out of this problem;but i did not see.i still keep on searching for a good one,until i get to know a man called druduka which i read his past testimony on how he help so many people with different problems.so i contact him and tell him my problem,and i also ask him to tell me the true if he can be able to cure my Ebola disease for me,he said yes;but i did not believe him,but i just give him a try.he told me that by the time he finish the casting of the spell,i will see the power of his spell and how it work fast.he told me what to do and i do it.he then commence a spell cast on me,after he has finish,he told me to go to hospital, in three days time and i will see the power of his spell,but i was still doubting him.when it was three days,i was going to the hospital with fear;when i get there,the doctor test me and said to me congratulation,i was so surprise and i jump up and say thanks be to druduka.every body in the hospital was happy with me.the people in the hospital ask me how did i get the cure,i told then that it is druduka that use is spiritual spell power to heal me from Ebola disease;now i am free.my thanks goes to druduka.if any one is facing this kind of problem or any kinds of disease:you can also contact him true is email address:(drudukaspiritualtemple@gmail)
    Reply
  5. J
    Jacinta
    Oct 17, 2014 at 8:42 am
    Be g sure lads
    Reply
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