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Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is very much news these days. Read below to know everything about Ebola.

What is Ebola virus disease (EVD)?

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a disease caused by the Ebola virus to humans.

Key facts related to Ebola virus disease

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
  • EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rain forests.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
  • Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

Ebola virus disease transmissionEbola virus disease 1

Ebola virus disease is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Ebola isn’t as contagious as more common viruses like colds, influenza, or measles.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease?

Ebola virus disease 4Early on, Ebola can feel like the flu or other illnesses. Symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after infection and usually include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Lack of appetite

As the disease gets worse, it causes bleeding inside the body, as well as from the eyes, ears, and nose.  Some people will vomit or cough up blood, have bloody diarrhea, and get a rash.

Diagnosis of Ebola Virus Disease

Ebola virus infections can be diagnosed definitively in a laboratory through several types of tests:

  • antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • antigen detection tests
  • serum neutralization test
  • reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
  • electron microscopy
  • virus isolation by cell culture.

 Vaccine and treatment of Ebola Virus Disease

No licensed vaccine for EVD is available. Several vaccines are being tested, but none are available for clinical use. Also, no specific treatment is available. New drug therapies are being evaluated.

Natural host of Ebola Virus Disease

In Africa, fruit bats, particularly species of the genera Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata, are considered possible natural hosts for Ebola virus. As a result, the geographic distribution of Ebolaviruses may overlap with the range of the fruit bats.


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