What you should know:
Ebola virus and Marburg virus are related viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers — illnesses marked by severe bleeding (hemorrhage), organ failure and, in many cases, death. Both Ebola virus and Marburg virus are native to Africa, so far its only in Africa where sporadic outbreaks have occurred for decades but until recently has gained high records in many African countries. The most recent Ebola outbreak has already killed 632 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February.
Ebola virus live in animal hosts, and humans can contract the viruses from infected animals. Ebola virus has been found in African monkeys, pigs, chimps and other nonhuman primates. After the initial transmission, the viruses can spread from person to person through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles.
The Ebola virus is a notoriously deadly virus, it causes fearsome symptoms, the most prominent being high fever and massive internal bleeding.
Signs and Symptoms:
Signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within 5 to 10 days of infection. Early signs and symptoms include:
Joint and muscle aches
Over time, symptoms become increasingly severe and may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea (may be bloody)
- Red eyes
- Raised rash
- Chest pain and cough
- Stomach pain
- Severe weight loss
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum, eyes and ears
Ebola virus has been found in African monkeys,fruit bats, chimps and other nonhuman primates. A milder strain of Ebola has been discovered in monkeys and pigs in the Philippines.
Transmission from animals to humans
The virus can be transmitted to humans by exposure to an infected animal’s bodily fluids. Examples include:
- Blood. Butchering or eating infected animals can spread the viruses. Scientists who have operated on infected animals as part of their research have also contracted the virus.
- Waste products. Tourists in certain African caves and some underground mine workers have been infected with the Marburg virus, possibly through contact with the feces or urine of infected bats.
Transmission from person to person
Infected people typically don’t become contagious until they develop symptoms. Family members are often infected as they care for sick relatives or prepare the dead for burial.
Medical personnel can be infected if they don’t use protective gear such as surgical masks and latex gloves. Medical centers in Africa are often so poor that they must reuse needles and syringes. Some of the worst Ebola epidemics have occurred because contaminated injection equipment wasn’t sterilized between uses.
There’s no evidence that Ebola virus or Marburg virus can be spread via insect bites.
Be your own guard and report any strange symptoms to your nearest Health Centre.
The possibility of contracting Ebola virus is extremely low unless you’ve had direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person or animal.
If you think that you or a family member may have been exposed to one of the viruses, call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. If you’re not referred to an infectious disease specialist, ask to see one.
If you’re traveling or working abroad, be more cautious and do not near areas marked as Ebola virus zone. Report any strange feelings or symptoms like feelings at your nearest health facility and be sure to elaborate properly to your doctor or hospital about your symptoms before your visit so that precautions can be taken to prevent transmission of the virus to others.
Tests and diagnosis
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is difficult to diagnose because many of the early signs and symptoms resemble those of other infectious diseases, such as typhoid and malaria. But if doctors suspect that you have been exposed to Ebola virus or Marburg virus, they use laboratory tests that can identify the viruses within a few days.
Most people with Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever have high concentrations of the virus in their blood. Blood tests known as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can detect specific genes or the virus or antibodies to them.
Treatments and drugs
No antiviral medications have proved effective in treating Ebola virus or Marburg virus infection. As a result, treatment consists of supportive hospital care. This includes providing fluids, maintaining adequate blood pressure, replacing blood loss and treating any other infections that develop.
Ebola Virus in Ghana, Possible ?
The said American, name withheld, died yesterday afternoon while under surveillance at the infirmary.
He arrived from Guinea on Sunday and reported at the clinic for medical attention.
As a result, Ghana’s Health Ministry is currently having a crunch meeting with stakeholders on the matter after they earlier disputed the American was carrying the virus even before adequate tests could be done.
The said meeting is supposed to strategize on how to contain the deadly Ebola virus, should it break out in the country.
There have been some deaths of several cases reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia by the close of June 30, this year.
The initial tests run on the American, now deceased, according to the source, was inconclusive because the officials used the wrong reagent.
The sources, who are medical practitioners, told media houses “the test should have taken Noguchi not more than five hours.”
The Public Relations Officer of the Health Ministry, Tony Goodman told the media that his outfit had requested for some reagents from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to further help with the investigations.
Signals are that the blood samples could also be flown to Atlanta in the United States for further testing.
Early on, Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Badu Sarkodie told the media that more work would be done later on the sample before a substantive conclusion could be determined.
“The governments are required to mobilize relevant sectors, community, religious and political leaders to improve awareness, psycho-social support and understanding of the Ebola situation,” said Francis Kasolo, WHO Africa director for disease prevention and control, in this Reuters news article.
Among other improvements to deal with the outbreaks, the countries hope to access better diagnostic technologies and health care resources, while improving disease surveillance and health communication throughout the region.
– Sultan Nuhu Mohammed