Ebola virus disease – symptoms, treatment and prevention

Ebola-virus-disease

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a fatal and rare condition that can happen to primates as well as human beings. The viruses that are known to cause this disease can be found mainly in the Sub Saharan Africa region. There are a few ways in which one could be affected by this disease. It could happen from coming in direct contact with an animal that has been infected. Apart from primates bats could be infected by this disease as well. As such, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for EVD. Research is going on at the moment to find the natural host of this virus.

Outbreak in Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has recently seen an outbreak of the dreaded EVD. It has happened in a region named Bikoro in a province called Equateur. This particular province happens to be located in the northwestern part of DRC. The national government declared an outbreak on 8th May 2018 after two confirmed cases. The lab tests, in this case, were done at the Institut National de Recherché Biomédicale, which is located at Kinshasa. The disease had occurred earlier in DRC during 2014 as well. This time it happened in another part of the same province.

Symptoms of EVD

The symptoms of EVD may be enumerated as below:

  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • severe headache
  • vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • abdominal pain
  • weakness
  • hemorrhage that cannot be explained through bleeding or bruising
  • fatigue

The symptoms could start showing themselves within 2 days of being affected by the virus. At times it can take as long as 21 days as well. On an average, however, it takes around 8 to 10 days for these symptoms to be exhibited in a patient. The problem with EVD is that its symptoms are similar to a number of diseases such as malaria and flu.

Prevention

There are several ways in which one can stop EVD from happening. It is very important to observe exceptional hand hygiene as it stops harmful germs such as the Ebola virus from spreading. The phrase proper hand hygiene implies washing the hand regularly enough with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with water and soap. If someone is at an area where the disease has spread, one needs to avoid contact with bodily fluids and blood of other people. The term bodily fluid includes the following:

  • urine
  • feces
  • saliva
  • sweat
  • vomit
  • breast milk
  • semen
  • vaginal fluids

Treatment

Normally doctors and healthcare professionals treat the symptoms of EVD even as they become evident. This needs to be done as early as possible so that the patient has a greater chance of survival. Treatment normally includes providing electrolytes and fluids through intravenous infusion. Oxygen therapy also needs to be offered so that a proper oxygen status can be maintained. Medicines also have to be administered so that the patient has a decent blood pressure, vomits less, does not suffer from diarrhea, and experiences less pain or fever. In case there are infections they have to be treated as well.

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