A while ago we wrote about the most common skin diseases and now it’s time we took a look at the massive killer that is happening right now in Africa, the Ebola virus. We’re presenting you with a top 10 list of things you need to know about Ebola. Things that everyone should know, even if you’re not living in West Africa; even if you don’t have friends of family staying there. It’s something that could potentially affect us all and we need to care about understanding it better. Read on and make sure you share with friends and family.
Did you know that the name of the disease came from the geography of the place it was first observed in? The name came from the Ebola River, which was close to the place where the first record of the virus took place. It was Yambuku in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was then called Zaire.
Right now it is localized in Central and West African countries. This is where the natural habitat of the animals that carry the virus is. The disease is currently contained to this area, but there are concerns it will eventually spread. Two Americans were infected while caring for the sick in Liberia and they were brought to a hospital in Atlanta, USA to be treated. They are doing well.
Right now a clinical trial for an Ebola vaccine is in the works. The head of immunization and vaccines at the World Health Organization told RFI: Since this is an emergency, we can put emergency procedures in place… so that we can have a vaccine available by 2015. The British pharmaceutical company will start trials next month.
Of course, there isn’t a way one can be 100% certain, but there is proof that in Africa this present Ebola outbreak spread from animals, fruit bats in particular. People would consume their poorly-cooked flesh and got infected with the virus. Ebola isn’t the only disease you can catch from eating raw animal flesh, but it is surely the worst. Cook your meat well or go vegetarian.
The first recognition of the disease took place in 1975 in Zaire (not the Democratic Republic of the Congo). There were 318 reported human cases with 280 deaths, which gives the virus a mortality of 88%. It spread to Sudan in the same year, infecting 284 people and killing 151 (53% mortality rate).
One of the most important things you need to know about Ebola is that it has an extremely high mortality rate. It is anywhere from 50 to 90 percent, which means that it is not a disease one can call survivable. Considering the gravity of the disease, the recovery of those who do survive is quite swift. As it is the case with many diseases, the earlier the virus is detected, the better the chances of survival are.
People are infectious, which means that they can spread the virus to other, as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Generally, when the symptoms of the disease are gone, so is the virus from the person’s system. But in the cases of men, they can still carry the virus in their semen for up to 60 days since their infection.
The current Ebola outbreak is the largest in recorded history. The number of cases and of deaths is still growing and there is no sign of the outbreak slowing down, unfortunately. As of August 6 2014, there have been 1779 cases of Ebola and 961 deaths. If you are interested in seeing the development of disease, check the World Health Organization website.
The disease that the Ebola virus causes is characterized by muscle pain, headache, sore throat and fever. Basically, its start is very similar to the beginning of a cold or a flu. It soon escalates with vomiting, diarrhea, impaired liver and kidney function and in some cases internal and external bleeding. It sounds horrible, because it is horrible.
Right now, there is no cure for Ebola or it there a vaccine that can prevent you from getting the disease caused by the Ebola virus. There are common efforts from several countries to create a treatment or a vaccine, but most probably this will take months if not years, even though GSK is starting trials next months. Up until now, there really hasn’t been a worldwide interest in this disease, because it affected very few people and it has always been contained. This is the main reason why there is no cure or vaccine for it.
Would you like to add more things you need to know about Ebola to our list? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.