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Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever by Rebecca Lashley

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Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a highly rare and deadly virus that currently has no cure or vaccine. It is native to Africa and is usually found in monkeys, chimps, gorillas, and other nonhuman primates and was originally discovered in 1976. A milder strain of Ebola has been documented in the Philippines which infected primates and pigs. The transmission from nonhuman primates to humans can occur from any interaction involving contact with bodily fluid from the infected. This could be from butchering, consumption, testing, or a variety of other interactions. Transmission from human to human is again passed on through bodily fluids. Since Ebola is most commonly found in developing countries, medical supplies are scarce causing doctors and nurses to reuse needles, and a lot of the time, without proper sterilization in between uses. During an Ebola outbreak, most of the transference of the illness occurs inside a hospital or medical center.  And since there is no cure, the virus itself cannot be treated, but only the symptoms.

The incubation period for Ebola is 2 to 21 days. Without tests, Ebola is hard to diagnose when symptoms first start. Usually, the beginning symptoms are the same as a cold or flu. Severe headache, fever, chills, sore throat, muscle/joint pain and weakness. Later symptoms include chest pain and cough, stomach pain, severe weight loss, red eyes, raised rash, diarrhea (may be bloody), nausea and vomiting, and internal and external bleeding from the nose, ears, eyes, mouth, and rectum.

Other complications can be brought on by Ebola, such as multiple organ failure, Jaundice, severe bleeding, shock, seizures, coma, and delirium. On the rare chance that an infected person survives Ebola, there are even more complications with recovery; hair loss, sensory changes, testicular inflammation, headaches, fatigue, eye inflammation, weakness, and liver inflammation (hepatitis). Ebola can be diagnosed by using an antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, IgM ELISA, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and virus isolation can be used to detect the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus. If the patient is deceased, then immunohistochemistry testing can be used to verify the virus.

Ebola is a very hard virus to prevent as the natural location and identity of its reservoir are not known. And with the outbreaks only happening in developing countries, stopping the spread of the disease can prove to be difficult. Without proper quarantine, sanitation measures, and barrier nursing techniques the spread of the virus can be hard to manage. Even after the infected person has died, the body is still contagious so people who prepare the body still have to wear surgical masks, gloves, and suits. Other preventive options are avoiding travel to areas that have outbreaks. This can be done by visiting the CDC website and checking your travel destinations. Washing your hands frequently is a good way to keep Ebola hemorrhagic fever along with many other germs off of you. Avoid eating bush meat from local markets. Since it is known to be carried in primates, it is possible to be carried in other animals as well. Avoiding contact with infected people or handling the remains of people who were infected is probably the most important. Although a cure does not look plausible in the future, scientists are getting closer to a vaccine.






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