The Ebola virus, also know as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a disease caused by viruses from four different families of viruses: 1)filoviruses, 2)arenavirus, 3)flavavirus, 4)bunyaviruses. The usual host for most of these viruses are rodents or anthropoids (such as ticks and mosquitoes). In some cases, such as the Ebola virus, the natural host for the virus is unknown. All forms of viral hemorrhagic fever begin with a fever and muscle aches. Depending on the particular virus, the disease can progress until the patient becomes very ill with repiratory problems, severe bleeding internally and externally, kidney problems and shock.
The severity of viral hemorrhagic fever can range from relatively mild illness to death. The Ebola virus is one of the deadliest diseases known to man. When magnified several thousand times by an electron microscope, these viruses have the appearance of long filaments or threads. Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 and was named for a river in Zaire, Africa where it was first detected. The first case appeared from nowhere, it killed 340 people. The disease is spread to health care workers in contact with body fluids, and also from patient to the person who cares for him or her in the home .
The disease is also spread among those who prepare the corpses for burial. The disease is not as yet to be thought airborne . The only way to contract this disease is from a vector or contact with infected body fluids. Illness occurs 2 – 21 days after infection but generally within 7 – 14 days, beginning with much the same symptoms of that of the common cold or flu. . The virus causes an unusual combination of clots and hemorrhages. The clots lodge throughout the body, King 2 filling capillaries and shutting off blood to parts of the internal organs, especially to the brain, liver, and spleen.
This causes the affected organs to begin to decay. Blood begins to leak through the capillaries and into the tissues, but by this point the blood will not clot. The connective tissues lose their elasticity and become mushy. The body’s internal cavities fill with blood, and blood leaks from all orifices and through the skin, which becomes easily ripped. As the disease progresses, both humans and monkeys develop a fixed and expressionless face, probably as a result of hemorrhages within the brain.
Usually during this stage there is rectal bleeding and the patient finally goes into convulsions and dies. As of yet, no treatment exists outside of supportive care. Mortality ranges from 50% to 90%. Upon necropsy (examination of the dead body to find cause of death), the internal organs of the dead are barely recognizable. the internal organs are liquefied and it looks like a big thick red milkshake. This unstoppable virus is a member of RNA viruses known as filoviruses. . Filoviruses form bricklike structures in animal cells.
These structures, called inclusion bodies, will often fill the cell completely. The inclusion bodies then come apart as they move toward the cell’s outer membrane. The virus threads grow through the cell walls, bud off, and travel to neighboring cells or to other sites throughout the host organism’s body, where the cycle is repeated. Filoviruses seem to overwhelm the body’s immune system, either by reproducing too rapidly for the body to react or perhaps by creating substances that suppress the normal immune response.
The most recent outbreak was that of the one that was reported in Gabon Africa this particular Epidemic claimed the lives of 45 people out of the 60 cases that were King 3 reported. This outbreak was declared official in November of 1997 and declared official over in early 1997. While I find no recent reports of any outbreaks I have found much information on the research for the cure of this horrible disease. There has been much success with a plant which seems to stop the Ebola virus dead in its tracks.
Scientists have yet to locate the resivior of this disease and therefore making it harder to track down the source or exact cause of the virus. So the discovery that the same forest that this disease thrives in also holds the potential cure is quite exciting for all those involved in this study. They have found that a compound from the Garcinia kola plant a plant which is commonly eaten in West Africa has stopped the virus in its tracks in laboratory tests. If this anti-Ebola compound proves successful in animal and human tests it will be the first medicine to successfully treat the virus that causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever.