Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a severe and sometimes-fatal disease in humans and primates, the precise origin of which remains unknown. Most researchers believe the disease is zoonotic, meaning “animal-borne.” Named after the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease was first recognized, the disease has been confirmed in Gabon, Sudan, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, and Uganda, since its discovery in 1976. You can learn to avoid the infection, protect yourself from its effects, and what steps to take in the event you become infected.
Ebola Virus Infection
Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body.
As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding.
A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous. Some types of them are serious, though. More than 100 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana. He had just returned from Saudi Arabia. People..The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, kills up to 90% of people who are infected.
Could There Be an Outbreak in the U.S.?
Although movies and books describe major outbreaks of Ebola-like disease in the U.S., they’re just fiction. So far serious Ebola cases have only shown up in Central and West Africa.
Ebola can spread from country to country when people travel. So it is possible for it to reach the U.S. if an infected person travels here. But there are ways to prevent people from coming to U.S. airports with the disease.
Airline crews are trained to spot the symptoms of Ebola in passengers flying from places where the virus is found. Crews are told to quarantine anyone who looks infected.
How Do You Get Ebola?
Ebola isn’t as contagious as more common viruses like colds, influenza, or measles. It spreads to people by contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal, like a monkey, chimp, or fruit bat. Then it moves from person to person the same way. Those who care for a sick person or bury someone who has died from the disease often get it.
Other ways to get Ebola include touching contaminated needles or surfaces.
You can’t get Ebola from air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either.
What Are the Symptoms of Ebola?
Early on, Ebola can feel like the flu or other illnesses. Symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after infection and usually include:
- High fever
- Joint and muscle aches
- Sore throat
- 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.
How Is Ebola Diagnosed?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a person has Ebola from the symptoms alone. Doctors may test to rule out other diseases like cholera ormalaria.
Tests of blood and tissues also can diagnose Ebola.
If you have Ebola, you’ll be isolated from the public immediately to prevent the spread.
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