Ebola virus: symptoms, how it is transmitted, types and treatment
Ebola is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through contact with blood, urine, blood, vomit, semen and vaginal fluids from an infected person, or through consumption, manipulation, or contact with fluids from sick animals.
The first cases of death recorded by the Ebola virus appeared in Central Africa in 1976, when humans were contaminated through contact with chimpanzee corpses.
Although there is no security of the origin of this virus, it is known that it is present in some species of mice that did not develop the disease, but managed to transmit it. Thus, it is possible that some animals, such as the chimpanzee or the wild boar, eat fruits contaminated with the saliva of mice and, consequently, infect humans by consuming the contaminated wild boar.
Ebola cannot be cured, which is why it is very important to avoid contagion of the virus from person to person through isolation and the use of special protection equipment.
The first signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus can appear between 2 and 21 days after the contagion and include:
- Fever above 38.3ºC;
- Sore throat;
- Excessive tiredness;
- Strong headaches.
After 1 week, the illness can get worse, causing the emergence of new symptoms such as:
- Vomiting (which may contain blood);
- Diarrhea (which may contain blood);
- Sore throat;
- Hemorrhages that lead to bleeding from the nose, ear, mouth or intimate region;
- Stains or blisters of blood on the skin;
In addition to this, brain alterations can also arise and the individual can end up falling into a coma or causing death.
The transmission of Ebola occurs through direct contact with blood, saliva, tears, sweat or semen from infected patients and animals, even after death.
It can also occur when the patient, cough or cough without protecting the nose or mouth, contrary to the flu, it is necessary to be very close and in more frequent contact with the patient, to contract the illness. However, this only occurs when symptoms manifest; therefore, during the period of incubation of the virus, there is no contagion.
Normally, people who have been in contact with patients with Ebola must be monitored for three weeks, through the measurement of body temperature 2 times a day, and in case of fever above 38.3 º C, they must be hospitalized. to start the treatment.
There are 5 types of Ebola virus, named according to the region where they originated the first time, while any type of Ebola has a high mortality rate and produces the same symptoms in patients.
The 5 types of Ebola known are:
- Ebola Zaire;
- Ebola Bundibugyo;
- Ebola Côte d’Ivoire;
- Ebola Reston;
- Ebola Sudan.
When a person is infected with a type of Ebola virus and survives, create antibodies against this type of virus, however, he is not immune to the other four types of being able to contract Ebola again.
Ebola infection is more frequent among people who have recently studied in Africa or come into contact with other individuals who have studied on this continent, especially during the outbreak of the illness.
Transmission between people seems to occur particularly through contact with blood or other secretions from an infected person, such as saliva, heces, urine or semen, for example.
What is recommended to do in case of suspicion of Ebola infection, is to keep the distance from all people and go to a treatment center as soon as possible, because the faster the treatment begins, the greater the chances of recovery. It is also advised to take special care with vomiting and diarrhea, so that more people come into contact.
The diagnosis of Ebola is complicated, as the initial symptoms of the illness are nonspecific, which is why it is important that the diagnosis is based on the result of more than one laboratory test. In this way, it is considered positive when the presence of the virus is identified through more than one analysis.
Apart from the exams, it is important that the diagnosis takes into account the signs and symptoms presented by the person and the possible exposure to the virus at least 21 days before the appearance of the symptoms. It is essential that immediately after the onset of the initial symptomatology or the conclusion of the diagnosis, the person is placed in isolation in the hospital so that the proper treatment can be started and the transmission to other people can be prevented.
There is no specific medicine to treat the Ebola virus infection, since the treatment is carried out according to the symptoms presented and with the person in isolation, with the objective of preventing the transmission of the virus to other individuals.
The treatment is carried out for the purpose of keeping the person hydrated and with blood pressure and oxygen levels within normal values. Likewise, it is possible to recommend the use of drugs to control pain, fever, diarrhea and vomiting, and specific drugs for the treatment of other infections that may also be present.
It is extremely important that the patient remains in isolation to avoid the spread of the virus, as this disease can be easily transmitted from one person to another.
Despite the fact that there is no specific drug to fight the virus, there are several studies in development that analyze the potential effect of blood products, immunotherapy and the use of drugs in the elimination of the virus, to combat the disease.
The Ebola virus prevention measures are:
- Avoid sprouting areas or attending public places;
- Wash your hands with water and soap several times a day;
- Keep away from the sick and those who died with Ebola, because they can also transmit the disease;
- Do not eat game meat;
- Be careful with the mice, as they are natural reservoirs of the virus, so how to avoid contact with other infected animals;
- Not having contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as blood, vomiting, diarrhea, urine, secretions from all or estornudos and intimate secretions;
- Wear gloves, gum clothes, protective lenses and a mask when you are in contact with an infected person, avoid touching and disinfecting all material after use;
- Burn all the clothes of the person who died because of Ebola.
As the Ebola infection can take up to 21 days to be discovered, during the outbreak of this illness, it is recommended to avoid traveling to the affected places, as well as the areas that border with these countries. Another measure that can be useful is to avoid public places with large concentrations of people, because it is always known who can be infected, due to the easy transmission of the virus.
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