There are many types of diseases in the world which are affecting the living organisms. Merriam-Webster defines ‘disease’ as an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions and it is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors. These days, due to different factors such as pollution, use of toxic materials in food, genetic factors etc. people are suffering from many diseases. The world has already seen the outbreaks of different diseases like Influenza, Swine Flu etc. in the past. Now, ‘Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever’ has taken over the globe. Its outbreak has brought out a revolution in the minds of the people. Every nation is trying its best to save its people from this disease since it is a dangerous as well as a fatal disease.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever, also known as Ebola virus infection, is a disease that occurs in humans and primates like monkeys and gorillas. It is also known as Viral hemorrhagic fever. Due to its destructive potential, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous and fatal diseases of today’s time. The first case of Ebola was observed on 26th August, 1976 in Democratic Republic of Congo (then known as Zaire). This is a disease that affects its victims by making them bleed from almost any part of their body. The fruit bats of Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of this virus.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever, also known as Ebola fever, is caused by a virus that belongs to the family called Filoviridae and order Mononegavirales. The species in this genus are called ebolaviruses. There have been identified five types of Ebola virus till date. They are Zaire ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, Taï Forest ebolavirus, Bundibugyo ebolavirus and Reston ebolavirus. Among these, four are reported to cause disease in human beings, i.e. Zaire ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, Tai Forest ebolavirus and Bundibugyo ebolavirus.
Mode of transmission
Ebola is transmitted through close contact with body fluids like blood, sweat, saliva, semen or other body discharges. Luckily, Ebola is not an air-borne virus. It is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
The incubation period of Ebola hemorrhagic fever is from 2 to 21 days.
- Arithritis, which is the inflammation of the joints
- Pain in lower back region.
- Nausea and vomitting
- Sore throat
- Chills, which is the feeling of coldness even during high fever
- Lack of appetite
- Stomach pain
These are the primitive symptoms of this disease. The late symptoms are:
- Bleeding from sense organs like eyes, ears and nose
- Gastrointestinal bleeding, in which bleeding occurs from the mouth and rectum
- Conjunctivitis or swelling up of eyes
- Swelling up of genital organs (labia and scrotum)
- Pain in the skin
- Bloody rashes occur over the entire body
- The roof of mouth looks red
The signs of coma, shock (a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is no sufficient blood flow in the body) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) can be seen. Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a disorder in the body due to which unnecessary blood clotting takes place in the body. This may even stop the blood flow.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for Ebola hemorrhagic fever till date. The treatment is primarily of supportive type which includes minimizing the invasive effect of the virus, balancing fluids and electrolytes to check dehydration, administration of anticoagulants at the time of infection to prevent disseminated intravascular coagulation, administration of procoagulants later to control bleeding, maintaining oxygen levels, pain reduction and the use of medications to treat infections by other bacteria and fungi. There are chances of survival if the patients are treated at the early stage.
The preventive measures of Ebola hemorrhagic fever are:
- Avoiding unnecessary physical contact with people.
- Limiting ourselves to food made at home only.
- Disinfecting the surroundings since the virus cannot survive heat, direct sunlight, detergents and soaps.
- Washing hands regularly.
- Fumigation of pests.
- Destruction of rodents.
- Creating awareness among the people.