Top 5 Facts about Ebola
It’s a deathly disease and there is unfortunately no cure. As the world faces this terrible disease and tries to protect from it, we decided to inform you some facts about Ebola. You can never be too cautious and knowing extra facts won’t hurt you.
#1. Discovery of the Disease
The first recorded outbreaks of Ebola occurred around the same time in 1976 in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Sudan. When people began dying of a mystery ailment, William Close, the personal physician of Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko, sent for a team of experts from Belgium’s Institute of Tropical Medicine. Their research focused on the village of Yambuku, where the first known case infected Mabalo Lokela, the headmaster of the village school, and quickly spread to other people in the village. The Belgian team decided to call the virus “Ebola” after the nearby Ebola River rather than stigmatize Yambuku. It is likely that Ebola has infected people much further in the past. According to some historians Ebola was responsible for the Plague of Athens, which struck the Mediterranean during the Peloponnesian War in 430 B.C. The plague came to the sea-faring Athenian people from Africa.
Fast-acting viruses like Ebola have historically burned themselves out quickly and close to their original source, whereas viruses that manifest slowly, such as HIV/AIDS have spread across the globe. Scientists believe that the reason Ebola keeps managing to pop up is that the virus has found a reservoir in the bat population of central and western Africa. The fruit bats, which are asymptomatic, transmit the disease to animals like the duiker (a small antelope) and primates like chimpanzees and gorillas.
#3. How Ebola “kills” the Infected Person
Unfortunately, symptoms of the early stages of the virus are so common that they are frequently ignored or misdiagnosed. The initial symptoms are quite like a cold or flu: headache, exhaustion, body aches, fever, sore throat, etc. Unfortunately, things get far worse – the stomach soon revolts with vomiting, diarrhea, and wracking gastrointestinal pain, leaving the patient weakened for the next stage, in which the virus attacks all the systemic functions in the body. This is the most gory part, when the “hemorrhagic” element of the fever becomes apparent. Internal bleeding is common, the skin breaks out in blisters, and blood pours from the ears and eyes. Death comes from various complications, including seizures, organ failure, and low blood pressure.
The precise mechanisms of the transmission of Ebola are unknown. Most experts agree that it can only be passed among humans through the exchange of bodily fluids, though there is some discussion that it may be spread aerobically from pigs to other species. At first glance, it seems easy to insulate oneself from such a virus, even for primary caregivers, by limiting the transfer of fluids. Unfortunately, those who haven’t witnessed the ravages of Ebola firsthand are all too quick to underestimate exactly how much fluid leaks from the body of an Ebola patient, particularly in the latter stages, when blood can leak from every orifice. Combined with the fact that a single nurse or doctor is often charged with attending to dozens of patients at a time and the generally poor medical infrastructure of central and western Africa, it is no surprise that clinicians often find themselves sick.
Sufferers are only given palliative care, including liquids and electrolytes to keep them hydrated; they also get painkillers like ibuprofen to bring down fevers, and antibiotics to temper any other complications and keep the immune system strong enough to focus on fighting the virus. The rest was largely up to the individual’s own constitution and which strain had sickened them.