The Ebola Virus or EVD was first seen in 1976 in which there were 2 outbreaks in Nzara, Sudan and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to the location of the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo near the Ebola River, the disease received its name. This virus is very fast acting, and is very severe. If a person is left untreated, it is often fatal.
The first cases of the current outbreak in West Africa were in March 2014, and it is currently the most complex outbreak that has been seen since the virus was first diagnosed. There have been more people to get this virus and die from it during this outbreak, than there has been in all outbreaks combined. It is also an outbreak that has spread more rapidly from Guinea to Sierra Leone and Liberia, and then to Nigeria by an air traveler, and to Senegal. This article explains in detail ebola causes and how it is transmitted.
What Causes Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks?
The Ebola virus belongs to the viral family Filoviridae. Scientists also call it Filovirus. These virus types cause hemorrhagic fever or profuse bleeding inside and outside the body accompanied by a very high fever. Ebola can be further divided into subtypes that are named for the location they were identified in. These sub types include:
– Reston (does not cause Ebola virus disease)
– Ta1 Forest (previously known as Ivory Coast)
– Zaire (responsible for the current 2014 Ebola outbreak)
Transmission from Animals to Humans
The Ebola virus likely originated in African fruit bats. The virus is known as a "zoonotic" virus because it can be transmitted to humans from animals. Humans can also transfer the virus to each other. Other animals known to transmit the virus include:
– Forest Antelope
Transmission Between Humans
Since people may handle these infected animals, the virus can be transmitted via the animal's blood and bodily fluids. Once people become infected with Ebola, they can transmit it to others, if a person were to come in contact with their:
– Semen (which can have the virus in it for up to 3 months after recovery, according to the CDC)
This is the only cause of Ebola transmission. These bodily fluids can all carry Ebola virus. People can get Ebola when they come in contact with these fluids via the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin. Healthcare workers are especially at risk for experiencing Ebola because they often deal with blood and bodily fluids.
Ebola can also be spread through sticks from infected objects, such as needles, and interactions with infected animals. To date, Ebola is only known to be transmitted from infected mammals and humans. Insects like mosquitoes are not linked with carrying Ebola.