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Ebola hemorrhagic fever

What is Ebola hemorrhagic fever?

Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and primates – monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees.

It is caused by infection with the virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebola virus. When an infection occurs, symptoms usually start suddenly.

The first types of the virus were discovered in 1976 in the territory of today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, epidemic outbreaks of the virus have appeared episodically.

5 subtypes of the virus have been identified. Four of them cause disease in humans – Zaireebolavirus, Ta├»Forestebolavirus, Bundibugyoebolavirus. Restonebolavirus type 5 does not cause disease in humans, only in primates.

The reservoir paratenic host of the virus in nature remains unknown. However, based on the available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, scientists believe that the virus is zoonotic and its primary source is bats. 4 of the 5 subtypes of the virus cause outbreaks in reservoir paratenic host habitats in Africa.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms usually appear suddenly between 2-21 days after exposure to the virus, the incubation period is usually between 8-10 days. The most characteristic symptoms are:

  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Joint and muscle pain;
  • Fatigue;
  • Vomiting and stomach pain;
  • Lack of appetite;

Some of the infected may also develop other symptoms:

  • Rashes;
  • Their eyes become red;
  • Their throat becomes inflamed ;
  • Chest pains;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Internal and external hemorrhages, ear hemorrhages are especially common;

Some who become ill with Ebolahemorrhagic fever managed to recover. In other cases, however, this does not happen. The reason for this is not yet fully understood.

However, people who die from the infection are known to have failed to mount a robust immune response to the virus prior to their death.

Currently, in Africa, about 60% of those infected with this type of hemorrhagic fever develop.

It is believed that if measures are not taken to control epidemic outbreaks, this percentage may rise to 90% of those infected.

Treatment of Ebola hemorrhagic fever

Conventional treatment is limited to supportive therapy. It consists of:

  • Balancing the fluids and electrolytes in the patient’s body;
  • Maintaining the necessary levels of oxygen concentration in the blood and constant monitoring of blood pressure. An oxygen mask may be required. If breathing becomes difficult and the patient cannot provide a sufficient amount of oxygen for his organs to function normally.
  • Treatment of any infections that complicate the patient’s condition;

Timely treatment is important, but it is a serious challenge because the disease is difficult to diagnose clinically in the early stages of infection.

The initial symptoms such as headache and fever are non-specific for Ebola virus infection and therefore it is very difficult to make a diagnosis at this initial moment.

If, however, a person feels that he feels the early symptoms of infection with the virus. And there is reason to believe that he has been infected, then he should be isolated and the sanitary authorities should be notified. Supportive therapy may continue with appropriate protective clothing while patient specimens are tested for infection.

A recombinant human monoclonal antibody directed against the Ebola virus has been shown to have a neutralizing effect. This neutralizing antibody may be useful in vaccine development or as a passive prophylactic agent.

Experimental treatments have been tested and proven effective in animals, but have not been tested in humans.

In 1995, the following experiment was done in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 8 people diagnosed with Ebola virus infection were transfused with blood donated by 5 people who had recovered from the infection.

The blood of those who recovered did not have antigens of the Ebola virus, but only contained antibodies against it. Antigens of the virus were present in all 8 patients before the blood transfusion.

A total of 8 patients had clinical symptoms – they had severe asthenia and 2 of them fell into a coma as a result of the progression of the disease.

Only one of these 8 people die afterwards, which is significantly less than the 60 to 80% of cases without transfusion of antibody-containing blood.

Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Prevention

To protect yourself from EHT and prevent its spread, a number of measures and precautions are necessary.

First and foremost, we must maintain strict standards of hygiene. Regular and proper hand washing with soap and warm water is essential.

Using antiseptic hand sanitizers can also be helpful, especially if soap and water are not available. Direct contact with blood, secretions and other biological fluids of infected people and animals should be avoided.

Another important measure to protect against ECT is wearing protective clothing and equipment when working with potentially infected patients or animals. This includes protective gloves, safety glasses or face shields, masks and protective chemical suits.

All these precautions should be used strictly as directed by health organizations and infectious disease specialists.

Also, direct contact with the corpses of persons and animals that have died from ECT should be avoided. The burial of the remains should be done with special procedures and equipment to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ebola vaccination may also provide protection, but unfortunately, there is still no universally approved treatment or vaccine for all types of ECT. We should consult with medical professionals and follow their advice on vaccination and treatment.

And most importantly, information about ECT and its symptoms should be widely disseminated to educate people and prevent panic.

Responsible reporting and sharing of information with official health authorities is a key part of efforts to address this serious health risk.

In conclusion, prevention of Ebola hemorrhagic fever requires strict hygiene practices, use of protective clothing and equipment, vaccination (if available), and public awareness.

This is essential to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus and save lives.

It is also important to emphasize that the availability of rapid tests and laboratory analyzes for Ebola can help in the early detection and control of infected persons, thus preventing possible spread.

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