HIV has a fatality rate of over 90% of untreated infected individuals on an average and that is just after a period of 10 years, more so, it is not easily transmitted, but Ebola on the other hand is …let me say, far more lethal. Ebola is more easily transmissible. It is spread by aerosols and you sure need wear a biological suit while working with a patient. It is a Central African disease that has traveled over countries in a living host to West Africa. Known cases have been experienced recently in Guinea, Liberia and Central Africa Rep, spreading eastwards and westwards towards Nigeria. The Ebola outbreak of 2014 is the most challenging one witnessed in Africa.
Major hosts are in 5 species of Bats but monkeys and apes are easily infected and killed. Five types of Ebola virus have been identified, there may still be more out there …who knows. Four of these viruses are known to cause severe hemorrhagic diseases in human and they are the Ebola-zaire(first to be discovered), Ebola-sudan, Ebola-bundibugyo and the Ebola-ivorycoast(now Ebola-taiforest). Ebola-zaire and Ebola-sudan having caused death in cases of about 90% and 50% respectively. The last of them, which does not infect humans, the Ebola-reston, have quite some story. Monkeys were shipped from the Philippines to the united states in 1990 and a year before that. These monkeys were found to be infected with a filovirus serologically similar to that of the Ebola virus. This outbreak occurred while they were still being held at the Reston quarantine facility, Reston VA, a short distance from Washington DC, supposedly for a month before distributing it elsewhere in the US.
The viral outbreak sure led to sickness and thus the death of some of the monkeys. This occurrence brought fears that the lethal infection might spread to humans. The fear was heightened when it couldn’t be serologically differentiated from Ebola virus. The good news was that humans who had close contact with the animals were not infected. More so, further screening of the animals had revealed that some of the monkeys had antibodies to the Ebola reston virus.
The Ebola virus infection have quite a fatality rate ranging from 25% to as high as 90% and that depends on the particular virus strain. Death occurs within 1 to 3 weeks after the onset of infection. The natural reservoirs of Ebola virus are not yet known. Some belief is that bats are the natural carriers because the virus can replicate in some bat species. How the virus was transmitted from animal to human is not also know but once human is infected, spread from human to human is pretty easy, either by close personal contact or by contact with infected individual fluid(sweat inclusive). Isolation of infected individuals and the wearing of protective clothing (mask, gowns, gloves) are one sure way to manage an outbreak. This technique is also applicable to this virus but unfortunately, poor underdeveloped or developing countries may not be able to practice this procedure. Also strictly using sterilized equipments in health care centers can also help curb the spread of the disease or infection. Individuals must be extra vigilant and be very reserved in their greetings (hugging, kissing or shaking hands) with even familiar people. If you shake hands then you must use a soapy lotion to wash your hands thoroughly — that may be the resource required for survival presently. Even these measures may be insufficient to protect you but do not shy away from trying your utmost.
The period of infectious growth of this virus ranges from 2 to 21 days and the first sign of illness occurs without warning. The symptoms of this virus includes diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain which are preceded by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat and weakness. Also, severe hemorrhaging occurs which leads to prostration and in many instances death. But interestingly, some infected individuals recover from this hemorrhagic fever while others do not. Patients who died of the virus didn’t seem to have effective immune response. Although survivors have no detectable neutralizing antibodies, it is possible they mount up a more effective immune response. However, there have not been a cure so far, but scientists all over the world are working hard eachday to find us a cure. While we await them, lets us aware others and stay safe.
Awareness is key, don’t just read and ignore…spread this campaign before the virus spreads!