What is Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Essay

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What is Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

What is Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a severe, often-fatal disease in humans
and nonhuman primates (monkeys and chimpanzees) that has appeared
sporadically since its initial recognition in 1976.
The disease is caused by infection with Ebola virus, named after a river in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) in Africa, where it was
first recognized. The virus is one of two members of a family of RNA viruses
called the Filoviridae. Three of the four subtypes of Ebola virus identified
so far have caused disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, and
Ebola-Ivory Coast. The fourth, Ebola-Reston, has caused disease in nonhuman
primates, but not in humans.

Where is Ebola virus found in nature?
The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat (known as the
"natural reservoir") of Ebola virus remain unknown. However, on the basis
of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that
the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne) and is normally maintained in an animal host
that is native to the African continent. A similar host is probably
associated with the Ebola-Reston virus subtype isolated from infected
cynomolgous monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from
the Philippines. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.

Where do cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever occur?
Confirmed cases of Ebola HF have been reported in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, Gabon, Sudan, and the Ivory Coast. An individual with
serologic evidence of infection but showing no apparent illness has been
reported in Liberia, and a laboratory worker in England became ill as a result
of an accidental needle-stick. No case of the disease in humans has
ever been reported in the United States. Ebola-Reston virus caused severe
illness and death in monkeys imported to research facilities in the United
States and Italy from the Philippines; during these outbreaks, several research
workers became infected with the virus, but did not become ill. Ebola HF typically appears
in sporadic outbreaks, usually spread within a health-care setting (a situation known as
amplification). It is likely that

sporadic, isolated cases occur as well, but go unrecognized.

How is Ebola virus spread?
Infection with Ebola virus in humans is incidental -- humans do not "carry"
the virus. Because the natural reservoir of the virus is unknown, the manner
in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak has
not been determined. However, researchers have hypothesized that the first
patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal. After the first case-patient in an outbreak
setting (often called the index case) is infected, the virus can be transmitted in several ways. People can
be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an
infected person. This is why the virus has often been spread through the families and
friends of infected persons: in the course of

feeding, holding, or otherwise caring for them, family members and friends would come into
close contact with such secretions. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through
contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected
secretions. Nosocomial transmission frequently has been associated with outbreaks of Ebola
HF. Nosocomial spread includes both types of transmission described

above, but the term is used to describe the spread of disease in a health-care setting
such as a clinic or hospital. In African health-care facilities, patients are often cared
for without the use of a mask, gown, or

gloves, and exposure to the virus has occurred when health care workers treated
individuals with Ebola HF without wearing these types of protective clothing. In addition,
when needles or syringes are used, they may not be of the disposable type, or may not have
been sterilized, but only rinsed before re-insertion into multi-use vials of medicine. If
needles or syringes become contaminated with virus and are then reused, numbers of people
can become infected. The Ebola-Reston virus subtype, which was first recognized in a
primate research facility in Virginia, may have been transmitted from monkey to monkey
through the air in the facility. While all Ebola virus subtypes have displayed the ability
to be spread through airborne particles (aerosols) under research conditions, this type of
spread has not been documented among humans in a real-world setting, such as a hospital or

What are the symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever?
The signs and symptoms of Ebola HF are not the same for all patients. The
table below outlines symptoms of the disease, according to the frequency with
which they have been reported in known cases.
Time Frame Symptoms that occur in most Ebola patients Symptoms that
in some Ebola patients
Within a few days of becoming infected with the virus: high fever, headache,
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