How Does Ebola Kill You?

Since 1976, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has shown up more than twenty times, almost always on the African continent. It shows no signs of stopping. If anything, it’s getting worse, as it spreads beyond western and central Africa and shows its ugly face in Europe and North America. Just how ugly is that face? The death toll speaks to that. We also know that this is a very efficient virus, which can kill within several days of onset of symptoms; symptoms which are unpleasant in the best of circumstances: fever, muscle, head and stomach aches, rash, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and massive external and internal bleeding. But exactly how does Ebola kill you? 

What Does Ebola Do to Your Body?

According to WebMD’s Dr. Michael Smith, Ebola is a “worm-like virus” which operates in a deviant fashion. After entering the host, it adjoins to the cell’s exterior. After invasion, the virus reproduces, and makes the cells burst, causing particles to emanate in every direction. Subsequent to that, Ebola takes over the entire immunological system. The virus utilizes the very cells which are designed to ward off infections in order to get to other areas of the host, including the liver, spleen, kidneys and brain. The firework of particulates starts off an almost unstoppable inflammatory reaction. In turn, the patient presents with sudden flu-like symptoms. In the vascular system, Ebola makes the body clot and bleed simultaneously. It is the bleeding into the dermis which makes a red rash show. Now that the host’s body can no longer clot in the normal fashion, internal bleeding starts to happen. Bleeding also occurs from all orifices: eyes, ears and nose. Entire body systems shut down.

Exsanguination, comorbid with organ failure, is why this is such a deadly virus. Perchance, physicians are able to maintain the body’s systems, via intravenous (IV) solutions, blood transfusions, a breathing machine and general supportive care, chances for the patient’s survival increase dramatically. Ebola moves quickly and can kill in a fortnight. In this outbreak, about 60% of those infected have passed away. Were access to healthcare better, many more would be saved. Citizens of the States have almost no risk of contracting the illness. The U.S. government is going above and beyond to keep Ebola contained.

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