The Ebola Virus, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a very severe virus that often kills up to 90% of those who contract the virus. The virus causes internal bleeding as well as bleeding outside of the body due to the number of blood clotting cells in the body dropping. As the virus progresses in the body, it begins to damage the person’s organs and immune system. Due to the nature of the Ebola virus, it is imperative for people to know all about Ebola virus in order to know how this virus is transmitted. As well as learning what they can do in order to combat this virus from spreading.
8 Essential Facts About Ebola Virus
If left untreated, Ebola can be deadly, and those who are treated are often fighting for their lives. The first cases of Ebola were seen in 1976, in the Democratic Republic of Congo occurred near the Ebola River village, and is how Ebola received its name.
Basic Ebola Virus Information—Ebola Virus Strain
There have been many animals in which the Ebola virus has been found in, which include African monkeys and chimps. There was also a strain of the Ebola virus that was milder in nature that was found in pigs and monkeys located in the Philippines. In Africa, the marburg virus has been seen in chimps, fruit bats and monkeys.
The virus belongs to the Filoviridae family that includes 3 subcategories which are Marburgvirus, Ebolavirus and Cuevavirus. Within these subcategories, there have been 5 different ebolavirus species identified which are Reston, Tai Forest, Sudan, Zaire and Bundibugyo. In Africa, the largest outbreaks were associated with the Zaire ebolavirus, Bundibygyo ebolavirus and Sudan ebolavirus. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola in Africa is a part of the Zaire species of the virus. Reston Ebola virus does not cause Ebola virus disease.
Original Transmission of Ebola Virus from Animals to Humans
For the most part, scientists believe that the natural animal host for the Ebola virus are fruit bats. It is through an infected animals bodily fluids and blood that this disease can be transferred to humans. For example, if a person were to butcher and then eat under cooked meat of the infected animal, then it could be spread to the human. Even in the laboratory setting, scientists who have conducted experiments on animals with the virus, such as an operation, have contracted the virus in this way. There have also been instances in which people work in the mines in Africa have been infected with the virus, and this was thought to be from the waste products, the urine and feces, of the infected bats who inhabit these caves.
Transmission Between Humans Is Made by Direct Contact
It takes direct contact for the virus to be transferred from one human to another. This means that the bodily fluids or the blood of an infected person must come into contact with a break in the skin or through the mucus membranes of a well person in order to be infected. In addition, a well person could come into contact with surfaces or materials that have these bodily fluids or blood on them, and then transfer the fluids into their bodies via a cut or mucus membrane to become infected.
Even coming into contact with a person who has died from Ebola virus can be how the disease is spread. As the virus can stay alive in the blood and bodily fluids after death. For example, men who do recover from the virus still have the live virus in their semen for up to 7 weeks, thus they can still pass this to well individuals during this time.
Ebola Virus Is Deadly for Humans
Due to the nature of the Ebola virus, which produces rapidly in the body, the virus is highly dangerous and deadly for humans. One of the reasons for this virus being so deadly is that unlike other types of viruses out there, Ebola can infect any cell in the body, which means that the damage spreads very fast. Once one cell is infected, the virus mutates rapidly within the cell and then produces proteins that go viral throughout the body. This is why the symptoms of Ebola advance so rapidly. Due to the cell reproducing the virus, the virus is released into the body as if multiple viruses are affecting the body at the same time, making this virus so dangerous and deadly for humans.
The Ebola Virus Can Be Easily Killed Before Entering Human Body
You can easily kill Ebola virus by sunlight, high temperatures, soap, bleach, or drying. Wash clothes which have been contaminated with fluids in a washing machine will also destroy Ebola virus. Ebola virus can only survive a short time on surfaces that have dried or that are in the sun, whereas it can survive longer on clothes which have been stained with bodily fluids like blood.
Precautions Can Be Taken to Prevent Ebola Virus Transmission
There are several ways in which a person can work on avoiding the Ebola virus, with the best approach being to avoid areas in which the virus is at or when there is an outbreak in that area. Other precautions are to wash your hands frequently with water and soap or with hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol in it, avoid eating meat from animals that are known to carry the infection, do not handle the remains of a person or animal that was known to have the virus, and if you work in the health care field, be sure to use the infection control standards set in place. All of these precautions when combined can help in preventing a healthy person from contracting the virus.
Ebola Virus is Mutating Rapidly and Becoming More Dangerous
After monitoring the Ebola virus in a laboratory setting, it was found that this virus mutates rather fast. In fact, studies point out that in one month, the virus has mutated around 50 times. Due to the rapid mutation, scientists believe that the virus is becoming stronger. Those who contract the virus today are showing a stronger version of the virus that what was seen 20 years ago, meaning that the virus is becoming stronger and thus more dangerous.
Ebola Virus Is Unlikely to Be Transmitted Through Air
Many worry that with the rate of mutation this virus sees, that it could become transmitted by the air. However, scientists are warning against this fear, stating that this is something that is highly unlikely. The reason for this is that science has studied viruses for over a hundred years and never has a virus completely changed the way in which it was transmitted. Therefore, Ebola will remain a virus that is only spread through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids.
No Medicines Can Kill the Ebola Virus
Though there are medicines on the market that are meant to help deal with the symptoms of the virus, such as IV’s to help prevent dehydration and medications to help with blood pressure, there is no medicine or injection that is meant to kill the Ebola virus. There are currently workings on developing something that would directly affect the Ebola virus, but as of right now, nothing can do this.
The length of time in which the Ebola Virus lasts is one thing that is in the favor of mankind. As mentioned before, the virus can easily be destroyed with soap and water, as well as harsh chemicals like alcohol or bleach. In addition, the virus is depleted when there are warm temperatures. In the best of situations with blood of a bodily fluid being on a surface, the virus will only stay alive in a cool temperature for a few days at the most.
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