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  • Ebola Symptoms, Treatment, and Mortality Rate

    Key facts about Ebola symptoms, treatments and its mortality rate.

    December 29, 2014 | Related:

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    Key facts about Ebola symptoms, treatments and its mortality rate.

    Ebola Symptoms, Treatment, and Mortality Rate This is how Ebola virus looks like when it’s viewed under the microscope.

    Out of 19,497 confirmed Ebola cases, the death toll has risen to 7,588. Despite the effort of containing the virus and decreasing the mortality rate of Ebola, the infection is still spreading intensely.

    The highest recorded number of patients is found in the north and west of Sierra Leone. Because of the origin of this outbreak, it’s sometimes called as Africa Ebola disease.

    The Ebola symptoms of this current outbreak are quite complex. In fact, this outbreak is considered as the most complex since the discovery of this virus in 1976.

    Up to now, Ebola vaccine is still in the works.

    What are the Ebola symptoms you must know?

    What makes Ebola more frightening and difficult to treat is that its symptoms are similar to other viral infections.

    Because of the similarities of Ebola symptoms to other infections, doctors have difficulty diagnosing it at its early stage.

    Here are some of the important Ebola symptoms that you must watch out for.

    • Abrupt fever
    • Muscle aches
    • Joint pain
    • Weakness
    • Sore throat
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Rash
    • Hiccups

    If we try to analyze these symptoms of Ebola, they’re the same as flu symptoms. In other words, there are no distinct sign or symptom that can tell that the patient is infected with the Ebola virus and not just flu virus.

    Then, there’s the fact that the Ebola symptoms will only manifest a few days after exposure to the virus.

    The incubation period can be anywhere from 2 days to 21 days, depending on how your body responds to the virus.

    Will bleeding occur?

    Ebola Symptoms, Treatment, and Mortality Rate

    Internal bleeding

    Internal and external bleeding is one of the symptoms of Ebola. However, it’s a later symptom that may cause the patient’s eyes to become red.

    They may also vomit blood. Bloody diarrhea is also noted.

    When the infected patient would suffer from cardiovascular collapse, he/she might die.

    How is it diagnosed?

    As previously mentioned, the Ebola symptoms are almost the same as flu, malaria and typhoid fever.

    Thus, diagnosis can be quite difficult.

    The only way to confirm the symptoms is for the patient to undergo a series of investigations.

    Confirmation tests

    • ELISA
    • Serum neutralization test
    • Electron microscopy
    • Virus isolation
    • RT-PCR assay

    Medical professionals who are handling the samples of the patients with Ebola symptoms are advised to consider them as extremely biohazard risk.

    Testing on the samples must be done under extreme biological containment conditions.

    It’s important to diagnose the patient as early as possible to gather appropriate treatments.

    Bear in mind that this Africa Ebola disease can be fatal. Having close contact with the infected patient can cause you to become sick as well.

    The doctors who supervised the treatment of this virus have died, including Dr. Sheik Umar Khan and Dr. Samuel Brisbane.

    Because this virus can be easily spread from one person to another, it’s important to isolate those patients with Ebola symptoms.

    Even if they haven’t been diagnosed yet of this disease, they must still be put in isolation to avoid spreading the disease.

    Africa Ebola disease transmission

    In order to suffer from the symptoms of Ebola, you must first have close personal contact with the infected person.

    In previous outbreaks, this disease was spread among hospital care workers and/or family members. This is because they’re the ones who take care of those infected individuals.

    But the virus or infection won’t be transmitted through eye contact, despite the close personal contact with the infected patient.

    You need to touch the patient’s blood and body fluids for the virus to crawl to your body and cause infection.

    The body fluids of those infected individuals contain large amount of Ebola virus. This is one of the reasons transmission of virus through hypodermic needles is possible.

    In Zaire and Sudan, for instance, reusing needles is a common practice. Because their health care system is underfinanced, they can’t afford to purchase or stock boxes of needles.

    Can it be transmitted through mosquitoes?

    It’s not like malaria or dengue.

    Ebola symptoms will occur only when the bodily fluids of the infected patient go inside you, regardless of how it’s been transmitted.

    It’s also likely that you’ll get infected even if the person with the virus didn’t show signs of Ebola. This is the latest development of Africa Ebola disease.

    The virus can still be present on the skin surface of the patient infected with the virus. It can be spread through sweat.

    If the body fluids of the infected person reached your eyes, for instance, the virus would spread rapidly, regardless of its quantity.

    Can the infected patient who’s been completely healed transmit the virus to others?

    Patients who have been completely healed from the virus won’t pose a threat of transmitting the infection.

    Then again, these patients must not engage in sexual intercourse as their genital secretions may still have the virus intact, which may cause virus spread.

    Thus, they’re advised to avoid sexual contact for 7 weeks after they’ve completely recovered.

    How is it treated?

    The Africa Ebola disease or Ebola is difficult to treat. But the standard treatment must include supportive therapy.

    This includes balancing the fluid and electrolytes of the patient. Their oxygen and blood pressure must also be monitored to avoid complications.

    In addition to monitoring the patient’s O2, BP, electrolytes and fluids, it’s also important to monitor other infections that may complicate the condition. This is one of the reasons isolation is necessary if someone is suspected of carrying this virus.

    Complications of Ebola symptoms are possible. They involve organ failures, jaundice, shock, coma, seizures, severe bleeding and death. According to the CDC, among the infected patients, 50% to 100% of them will die if they didn’t receive immediate treatment.

    Those patients who survived from this disease may still have to endure the complications of Ebola symptoms. This means that they may still suffer from fatigue, headaches, weakness, hair loss and hepatitis, among others.

    Thus, it’s essential that survivors of this disease must work with their health providers to finally recover from this condition.

    Is there an Ebola vaccine?

    No Ebola vaccine yet has been discovered. The best way to prevent being infected with the virus is to avoid traveling to those areas where the cases of Ebola are high.

    You must also stay away from those patients with the disease to avoid getting infected with the virus. If you don’t have any reason to go to the hospital, you must avoid it.

    If you’re a medical caregiver, you can protect yourself from becoming infected by adhering to the strict rules on how to prevent transmission of virus. This means that you must wear gloves, goggles, gowns and appropriate mask when handling or taking care of the patient with the virus.

    Research about Ebola vaccine is still ongoing. Although successful vaccines have been developed, they only work with experimental animals. But researchers are working hard to finally find the vaccine that can prevent the virus from spreading.

    The vaccine that’s being developed utilizes modified viruses, inactivated viruses, and recombinant viruses. None are available. But the government assured us that the vaccine will surface sooner, rather than later. Cross fingers.

    Is the Ebola virus at risk to the general public?

    Although the mortality rate of Ebola is high, it’s not considered a risk to the general public.

    But you’ll be at risk of getting infected if you work in the hospital where patients with this virus are being treated.

    Your risk is also high if you come in direct contact with the bodily fluids of the infected patient.

    How to control the risk?

    Ebola Symptoms, Treatment, and Mortality Rate

    Laboratory service

    The key to controlling the transmission is to have excellent laboratory service that handles samples.

    Safe burials of patients who died of this disease must be observed.

    It’s a must that the community act together to control the outbreak. The government must also come up with a way that can help spread the essential information of how to avoid Ebola symptoms.

    Fruit bats and monkeys that might have been infected must be thoroughly cooked before eating them. When handling them, you should wear gloves and other clothing that can effectively protect you against the virus.

    When you take care of your family member who’s infected with the virus, you must wear protective equipment and gloves. If you’re only visiting a friend or a member of the family who’s sick of this disease, you must wash your hands after visiting the patient.

    Safe burial of the dead must be part of the containment measure. The burial must be done promptly to avoid virus spread. The government must identify those people who have been in close personal contact with the person infected with this virus.

    Even if you haven’t experienced Ebola symptoms yet but you’ve been to one of the countries where there the disease is endemic, you must submit yourself to isolation to prevent further spread. You might or might not have the disease. The important thing here is to contain the infection.

    When it comes to preventing transmission of Ebola symptoms, you must practice good hygiene. A clean environment is also a must.

    About the author

    Janey Danes Janey Danes started her career as a part-time article writer, editor and proofreader in 2008. She specializes in topics related to health, travel, technology, family, and spiritual life. Danes is a licensed medical technologist and she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology. She is also a contributor to Travel Philippines | Entertainment and Medical Technology Avenue. You can also find her on Google+.

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