Recent Ebola outbreak : All you need to know about the disease

Ebola|Covid|Pandemic

COVID-19 has led to a major disruption in the economies and health sectors worldwide.In this post pandemic era, we may witness many more communicable diseases which could turn out to be an epidemic(disease spreading within a geographical area) or a pandemic (disease spreading across countries and continent).

Climate change, global travel, genetic mutations of microbes and increased contact between humans and animals are some of the causes.

What are some examples of pandemics and epidemics

Notable past pandemics:

  • Plague
  • Influenza
  • Small pox
  • HIV AIDS

Epidemic examples:

  • Yellow fever
  • Measles
  • Polio
  • Ebola

Recently Ebolavirus outbreak has been reported in The Republic of Congo.The government launched a vaccination campaign on wednesday.
What is Ebola virus?

Ebola virus disease is a fatal viral haemorrhagic illness which commonly affects human and non human primates(monkeys, gorilllas and chimpanzees).It begins with flu-like symptoms eventually leading to multiorgan failure and death. Average risk of death is 50%.

Transmission

Mode of spread of infection

Enters body through mucous memberanes,cuts or blood transfusion.It affects the immune system of body leading to leakage from blood vessesls and bleeding.
Signs and symptoms

Since signs and symptoms of Ebola mimicks dengue,typhoid and malaria it leads to diagnostic challenge.Incubation period(time interval between infection and development of symptoms) is generally 2 to 21 days.The person is infective only after he develops signs and symptoms of the disease.

Early symptoms

  • High grade fever
  • Generalised weakness
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea, vomiting , diarrhoea

Advanced disease symptoms:

  • Bleeding in urine
  • Bleeding in stool
  • Conjunctival bleeding
  • Dehydration
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Multiorgan failure and death

Prevention

According to CDC (Centre for Disease Control) guidelines:

  • Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of infected person.
  • Avoid contact with items of an infected person
  • Avoid touching body of a dead person died of Ebola.
  • Avoid contact with fluid, blood or raw meat of bats and non human primates.

US-FDA approved Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV in 2019.
Treatment

Treatment for Ebola is mainly supportive:

  • Rehydration, adequate nutrition, blood transfusion and analgesics.
  • Medications to reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • Two FDA approved drugs for Ebola are Inmazeb and Ebanga.

How an Ebola outbreak is controlled?

Through contact tracing- Contacts of a new case are found and observed for 21 days from the day of contact. They are isolated once symptoms develop.

Ebola as biological weapon?

Ebola is categorised as category A bioterrorism agent by CDC, however not an effective weapon as the virus quickly loses its infectivity once exposed to open air.

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