The Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Virus

Image Credit: Flickr User NIAID,via CC

There is a lot of news about the deadly virus Ebola that is highly contagious. According to WHO ( World Health Organisation), this virus has attacked around 1600 people so far in West Africa. The affected countries are Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Two US health workers are being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Can you get infected? Yes, you can but only if you travel to any of these countries and comes in close contact with the infected people. Otherwise you are safe for now. Every country is issuing a travel warning to not travel to these countries.

What virus is causing this? RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus that infects fruit bats, monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Somebody must have come in contact with an infected animal and it all started in 1976  in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the Ebola River and hence the name.

What are the symptoms? Well, initially Ebola appears as a viral as the symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, cough, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If anyone is exposed to the virus, it takes 8-9 days for them to fall sick. The virus incubates in their bodies becoming stronger and stronger. Later symptoms include bleeding and death.

Is there any vaccine against Ebola? Sadly, there is no known vaccination or treatment drug against Ebola. However, there is an experimental drug from a US company named Mapp Biopharmacuetical Inc called ZMapp. It is a controversial drug ( that is a lot of people are against it) as it is not tested for long enough. WHO has now authorized the use of this drug in Africa.

How can we protect ourselves? Wash your hands frequently. Stay away from people who have viral symptoms and have recently traveled to Africa.

This disease is scary, let us pray for the ones who are affected and hope that it gets contained soon.

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