Ebola Virus: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Also known as ‘Ebola hemorrhagic fever’, it is a deadly virus.
It is rare but has common symptoms like fever, body aches and even diarrhea.
Why it’s harmful is because it can damage the immune system and the organs.
It can lead to uncontrollable bleeding and blood-clotting cells are significantly affected.
Ebola- Virus- 101
As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding.
This blog will discuss all you need to know about the virus which kills 90% of people who are infected.
It is a deadly disease and starts off with a virus. It consists of five strains. These strains can make you sick.
When it enters the body, it kills cells.
The virus has extremely harmful body effects as it completely ruins the immune system.
Heavy bleeding takes place and organs are impacted too.
The silver lining is however it isn’t as common as other infectious diseases. You can only get it if you have direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person.
Now we will identify the common symptoms of this virus:
Symptoms of Ebola Virus:
The time frame between when the infection sets in to when you start feeling the onset of the symptoms, is usually from 2 to 21 days.
One thing to note here is that a person will not be able to infect another person with this virus unless and until that person first develops the symptoms.
Most common symptoms of the virus are:
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- In certain cases, you will also have impaired kidney and liver function
- Severe cases can also have internal and external bleeding
- Oozing from the gums
- Blood in stool
You might be wondering how the virus even came into existence. Let’s get into the depth of the history of the Ebola virus:
History of Ebola Virus in Humans
The virus was discovered in 1976. It took place when there were two outbreaks of the fatal haemorrhagic fever in various regions of Central Asia.
It was in a village near the Ebola River where the first outbreak happened in the region of Congo.
The second outbreak happened in Sudan.
Interestingly it was first assumed that the same person carried the virus and caused the outbreak in one place and then the other.
However later on, scientists discovered it was more than that. There are two variations of the virus- the Zaire virus and Sudan virus.
The virus was independently spreading across both the regions.
There are also speculations that the virus in fact existed even before the recorded data from these two places was taken into account. It was again at areas where medical help and counselling wasn’t readily available.
Some contributing factors to the spread of the virus include things like destructed of forested regions and direct contact with wildlife.
Diagnosis and Causes
For a disease which needs proper diagnosis, we will need to carry a proper diagnosis to differentiate it from other infectious diseases.
Since many of the symptoms of pregnancy and Ebola are same, it is hard to make the proper distinction between the two.
Since this virus is infectious and extremely dangerous in pregnant women, it is important that women in pregnancy should be regularly tested in case there’s some doubt the virus exists.
The virus has been around for a long time, causing serious issues and concerns among patients.
It is important that the virus be identified in a patient early in its onset. This helps to combat the symptoms and avoid any serious complications from happening.
Moving ahead, you will see how the diagnostics process is carried to know if you are the carrier of the virus or no:
Some of the common diagnostic methods applied are:
- Antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
- Antigen-capture detection tests
- Serum neutralization test
- Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
- Electron microscopy
- Virus isolation by cell culture
When it comes to opting for a diagnosis, some specifications which are taken into account are:
- Disease incidence
- Disease prevalence
- Technical specifications
- Social implications
- Medical implications
Experts consider that tests which are of international evaluation should be opted for.
WHO provides the list of the following recommended tests:
Automated or semi-automated nucleic acid tests (NAT) for routine diagnostic management.
Rapid antigen detection tests- for screening purposes as part of surveillance activities
Specimen Collection includes:
Since it is considered to be a biohazard risk, samples collection is a tough task. Also the laboratory testing is to be done under extreme biological containment conditions.
Medical experts will ensure the specimen is packed using a triple packaging, be it for national or international transportation.
It is important that it be carefully sealed and is not exposed to any person.
Whole blood collected in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) if showing symptoms
Oral fluid – this is taken when you can’t take samples from blood collection from the deceased patients
Looking at Causes of Ebola:
The major cause of Ebola is usually very high fever. This occurs due to a virus infection which triggers coagulation abnormalities.
These abnormalities include gastrointestinal bleeding, having heavy rash, cytokine release and liver damage.
This escalates further and the microvascular endothelial cells become damaged or destroyed. This will result in internal and external bleeding.
It will also include uncontrollable bleeding in nasal passages and the mouth and gums as well as eyes. You will need immediate attention and careful
This intensive bleeding can lead to blood and fluid loss which causes hypertensive shock. This stage is often accelerated towards the death of Ebola-infected patients.