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What is Ebola Virus all about?.. -- Facts, Disease, Treatment and Prevention

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Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.
Electron micrograph of an Ebola virus virion
In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
Ebola then spreads in the community through human- to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola.
Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.

Signs and symptoms
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.
This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.
People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus.
Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory.
The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.



Treatment
Supportive care-rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids- and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. There is as yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated.
An experimental Ebola vaccine proved highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea. The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, was studied in a trial involving 11 841 people during 2015.
Among the 5837 people who received the vaccine, no Ebola cases were recorded 10 days or more after vaccination.
In comparison, there were 23 cases 10 days or more after vaccination among those who did not receive the vaccine.
The trial was led by WHO, together with Guinea's Ministry of Health, Médecins sans Frontieres and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, in collaboration with other international partners. A ring vaccination protocol was chosen for the trial, where some of the rings are vaccinated shortly after a case is detected, and other rings are vaccinated after a delay of 3 weeks.

Prevention
Educational public health messages is necessary for preventing and reducing risk of contacting Ebola virus.
Awareness should focus on several factors:
*. Reducing the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission from contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their raw meat.
Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing.
Animal products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
*. Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community arising from direct or close contact with infected patients, particularly with their bodily fluids.
Close physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided.
Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home.
Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients.
Pig farms in Africa can play a role in the amplification of infection because of the presence of fruit bats on these farms.
Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn when handling sick animals or their tissues and when slaughtering animals.
In regions where Ebola virus has been reported in pigs, all animal products (blood, meat and milk) should be thoroughly cooked before eating.
Human-to-human transmission of the Ebola virus is primarily associated with direct or indirect contact with blood and body fluids.

Transmission to health-care workers has been reported when appropriate infection control measures have not been observed.
It is not always possible to identify patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) early because initial symptoms may be non-specific.
For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients – regardless of their diagnosis – in all work practices at all times. These include basic hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, the use of personal protective equipment (according to the risk of splashes or other contact with infected materials), safe injection practices and safe burial practices.

Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply, in addition to standard precautions, other infection control measures to avoid any exposure to the patient's blood and body fluids and direct unprotected contact with the possibly contaminated environment.
When in close contact (within 1 metre) of patients with EBV, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).
Laboratory workers are also at risk. Samples taken from suspected human and animal Ebola cases for diagnosis should be handled by trained staff and processed in suitably equipped laboratories.
SOURCE: World Health Organization





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