Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
By the time, with the new inventions in the medical sciences, we have entered the modern era of health-care and diseases prevention, we have been threatened by dreadful maladies. The advance level medication by the researchers not only helped out in treating the diseases but also became the cause of the genetic evolution of the microorganisms producing resistance. One of the recent is “Ebola virus”. The name appeared after its outbreak on humans in 2013-14 which caused the death of thousands of the people. Ebola virus causes the “Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)” which is also commonly known as the “Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF)” or “Ebola.”
There are four to five viruses of the genus Ebola. The most common and dangerous EVD causing species of Ebola is “Zaire Ebola” virus. Ebola Virus expresses the L-gene in the cell of the host by its RNA polymerase. Replication of the viral genome occurs in the target cells and then the virus buds off to the different cells and regions of the body.
EVD first time appeared in 1976 at a village near the Ebola River, West Africa. Later it breakout by the travelers in other regions of worlds especially the Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. But in 2013 and 2014 it appeared as a serious havoc around the different regions of the world. The major emergencies of Ebola was as follows:
From 1976 to 2013 nearly 1,716 cases appeared in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its nearby areas but with no fatalities.
From 2013 to 2016 about 28,638 cases appeared in the West Africa with almost 11,315 mortalities. (11,315 deaths)
EVD is a condition in which the virus attacks all the cells of the body and causes internal and external bleeding, that is why the disease is also called “Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.” The virus damages each and every organ of the body and suppresses the immune system by destroying the white blood cells especially the monocytes and neutrophils.
The prime host of the Ebola Virus could be the fruit bat through which it spreads to other wild animals and finally humans. The exact method through which transmission occurs is not known but contact with the body fluid such as blood, saliva, semen, etc. of the infected animal might be the culprit. Like AIDs, Ebola is also zoonotic in origin. While the transmission from the human to human occurs by the contact with the infected person or by the infected blood. Most of the cases are Nosocomial in origin i.e. they are transmitted through medical sites and medical equipment.
The symptoms appear within the 2 days to 3 weeks. The initial indications of the EVD is influenza, joint pain, muscular pain, decreased appetite, and the later symptoms are a sore throat, headache, muscle fatigue, vomiting, rash, internal and external bleeding in which the blood may appear in vomiting and coughing or in excreted matter, dis-functioning of the liver and kidney and high fever (higher than 101 F). The death rate is between 20 to 90% whose average is taken 50% and while the rest of the 50% suffer from the chronic illnesses.
There is no any specific test for the EVD introduced by the researchers. EVD is confirmed by compiling the results of many different tests and that include:
Antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). It is a test in which specific antigens are detected by antibodies that are conjugated with a specific enzyme and the substrate of the enzyme is also added. Antigen binds with the antibody activating the enzyme that results in the conversion of the substrate production visible color change. Through this method quantitative and qualitative analysis of an antigen in a sample is done.
Electron microscopy of the infected cell. In this technique, the virus is cultured in a living cell and, then is observed in an electron microscope under high magnification of 250,000x.
Serum neutralization test. In this test, the antibodies are detected in the serum.
Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). This is by far the most accurate test for revealing the Ebola Virus. In this method, millions of the copies of the genetic material of the virus are produced and amplified to a level that is detectable.
The treatment is carried out through a proper protocol set by the “World Health Organization (WHO).” There is neither any specific treatment present to control the EVD nor any vaccinations. Still, the disease is passively controlled by the medication of the antibiotics to the patients.
Treatment methods applied are:
The patients are kept in the intensive care units (ICU) under the supervision of the doctors.
Patient’s body fluids and electrolytes levels are carefully monitored because the frequency of the vomiting and diarrhea is so high that it can send the patient into hypovolemic shock or coma. This being the major fatality factor is extremely taken care of.
Patients are isolated so that the infected person may not spread the infection.
Patient’s lost blood and clotting factors are constantly replaced as they are being lost in the exaggerated hemorrhagic conditions.
Patient’s oxygen status is preserved to properly oxygenate the tissues of the body and blood pressure (BP) is maintained to keep the circulation of the blood at the normal level and also for the proper functioning of the Cardiovascular system.
Try to avoid the contact with the possibly infected animals like a fruit bat, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and pigs.
Avoid eating or handling the meat of the animals in the breakout areas.
Avoid the contact with the infected persons.
Avoid the infected needles, blood samples.
Recently, governments such as Canadian Government is ensuring the “Contact Tracing” of Ebola Virus by using methods such as “Ebola Virus Kits.” This kit keeps the record of the temperature and few other symptoms related to the Ebola infection. To ensure that no outbreak of the virus occurs.
The Ebola Virus plague might not be the greatest havoc that mankind has ever faced but it surely set us back. It showed us how helpless we are when nature shows its dark colors. It gripped the minds of the modern researchers and made them find the new ways to fight the ailments. We are still on the route to device proper medication for the “Ebola”.