Ebola Virus is the newest virus which has become epidemic in West Africa and it is being that it is spreading throughout the world as people coming from that region are becoming carriers of the virus. Going into the history if this virus, this virus was first detected in 1976, when it occurred simultaneously in the regions of Nzada, Sudan and Yambuku in Democratic Republic of Congo. It got its name from the Ebola River that flowed near the Yambuku village. As per medical research, this virus belongs to the Family Filoviridae and Genus Ebolavirus. This genus has five 5 distinct species namely
Bundibugyo Ebolavirus (BDBV)
Zaire Ebolavirus (EBOV)
Reston Ebolavirus (RESTV)
Sudan Ebolavirus (SUDV)
Tai Forest Ebolavirus (TAFV)
Out of the above mentioned species, BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV have been considered responsible for the recent epidemic outbreak in West Africa.
The Ebola virus spreads by contact. It enters the human body when it is transmitted though animals like chimpanzees, monkeys, who are either ill or dead because of this disease. Fruit bats are considered to spread the disease without getting infected by it. Spread by air has not been observed till now by scientists. Once transmitted to humans, it can be spread by any form of contact with infected person like physical contact, blood transfusion, through male semen. It can also occur in places like crematoriums where people come in contact with the body of the deceased person who had suffered from this disease. Also if one is travelling to Africa or conducting research on animals imported from Africa, there are chances that the person may get infected by the disease.
Once infected, the symptoms a person shows are
Difficulty in breathing and swallowing
These symptoms are followed by:
Diarrhea and vomiting
Lack of appetite
In certain cases, internal as well as external bleeding was also observed. The platelet count as well as white blood cell count also decreases leading to weekend immune system.
As the disease caused by this virus shows symptoms shown by many other diseases, one should be careful while treating patients. Before starting treatment for his disease, one should rule out the diseases like malaria, typhoid fever, cholera and other type of haemorrhagic fevers. Even after that, Ebola virus disease should be confirmed with the help of either of the following tests Antibody-capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
Antigen detection test
Serum neutralization test
Cell culture based virus isolation.
Polymerase Chain Reaction test.
Also, as the samples of such patients carry the risk of spreading the virus, the test should be conducted under maximum biological containment condition so that the disease is not spread.
Though several vaccines are being tested for this disease, but unfortunately, no proper treatment is available for this disease at the moment. Only precautionary steps are there for making sure that the disease does not spread to others.
Once a person is diagnosed with this virus, he should be immediately shifted to quarantine. Also, his diet should be properly balanced making sure that the fluids and electrolytes are properly balanced to prevent dehydration. Also, proper blood pressure should be maintained and if required anticoagulants and procoagulants should be given. It should be taken care that, if the patient complains of any infection, it should be treated immediately.
Till now, no cure has been established for this disease. Also, no clear prevention method has been devised. Simple precautionary steps to be followed at the moment are: Maintaining a dry and hygienic environment.
Properly washing hands with sanitizers
In areas where this disease has spread, following precautions should be taken to prevent outspread to other areas: Isolating and quarantining the region infected with this disease. Getting medical examination of all people who are leaving that place and if anyone found infecting, not allowing them to leave until they are cured. Culling of infected animals with proper incineration of carcass. Medical aid personals should be properly covered so that they do not catch the infection.
The disease has occurred in the past also, but the outbreak of this disease is most threatening this time.