What is Ebola? Know its symptoms

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What is Ebola?

  • Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was first reported in 1976 in Democratic Republic of Congo near the Ebola river.
  • Ebola,  a rare and often fatal disease, which spreads through mucous and other body fluid or secretions such as stool, urine, saliva and semen of infected people, is believed to be very difficult to control.
  • Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is a highly infectious disease caused by the Ebola virus and cause internal and external bleeding.
  • It is transmitted through direct contact with the infected person and it is not an airborne virus.
  • The Ebola outbreak is, by far the largest in the nearly 40-year history of the disease.
  • It has death rate of 90 per cent.

[Also read: Know how genes affect Ebola patients]

How many lives Ebola has claimed this year?

  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the scale of the ongoing outbreak is unprecedented, with approximately 1, 711 confirmed infections and suspected cases reported, and 932 deaths have been recorded in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone since March.
  • The UN organisation on Wednesday said currently there was no registered medicine or vaccine against the virus, but there were several experimental options under development.
  • On Monday, the World Bank said it will provide $200 million in emergency funding to help the three west African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to contain the worsening Ebola outbreak in the region.

Should Indians need to fear from Ebola?

  • Indians should not think that they are far from the reach of Ebola virus and are safe as there are close to 45,000 Indians living in Ebola-affected countries.
  • There are chances that Ebola outbreak may occur in India if the Indians affected from this virus plan to come back home. Unlike other infectious diseases which originate from rural areas, the Ebola outbreak originated from urban areas.
  • On Wednesday, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, "All precautions are being taken by us. While the risk of Ebola virus cases in India is low, preparedness measures are in place to deal with any case of the virus imported to India. There would be designated facilities at the relevant airports/ports to manage travellers manifesting symptoms of the disease. The surveillance system would be geared up to track these travellers for four weeks and to detect them early, in case they develop symptoms."
  • Vardhan also said that the risk of transmission of the virus to countries outside African region is "low" but "we would obtain details of travellers originating or transiting through affected countries to India and tracking these persons after their arrival up to their final destination".
  • Sadly, there has been no major breakthrough in curing this deadly disease. So, there is a need to be aware from its consequences.

Early signs and Symptoms of Ebola

  • Ebola symptoms typically start showing two to three days after contracting the virus, with onset of fever, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, headache, stomach ache and lack of appetite.
  • Early signs visible in 4-5 days
  • First three days- Extreme weakness, lethargy and tiredness
  • 4th to 7th day- Headache, vomiting, anemia, diarrhea
  • 7th to 10th day- Severe symptoms like bleeding from eyes, ears, nose and jaws

How does Ebola virus attack?

  • The moment it enters into someone's body, it goes into the body cells and multiply itself.
  • Then, it produces a kind of protein, that proves dangerous to the body.
  • Affects the immune system. It enters into liver, kidneys and brain and damages the immune system.
  • Causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop.
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