What is Ebola?

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What is Ebola?  Blog Image


Scientists recently found a new way in which Ebola reproduces in the human body, identifying a potential target for drugs to prevent the viral disease.

About Ebola

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD, or Ebola) is a rare but severe illness in humans.
  • It is caused by several species of viruses from the genus Ebolavirus, that are found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • It gets its name from the Ebola River, which is near one of the villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease first appeared.
  • Transmission:
    • 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 in the same way. 
    • Those who care for a sick person or bury someone who has died from the disease often get it.
    • 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.
  • There are occasional Ebola disease outbreaks in people, occurring primarily on the African continent.
  • Symptoms:
    • Symptoms of Ebola can start two to 21 days after being infected by the virus.
    • Symptoms start out flu-like but can progress to severe vomiting, bleeding, and neurological (brain and nerve) issues.
  • Treatment:
    • There is no known treatment for Ebola, although experimental vaccines and therapeutics are being tested.
    • Recovery seems to depend in part on how much virus a person was initially exposed to, how early treatment is started, and the patient's age and immune response. 
    • Current therapy consists of maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balance and the administration of blood and plasma to control bleeding.
  • Mortality:
    • Mortality rates for EVD range from 25 percent to 90 percent, with an average of 50 percent.
    • Death usually occurs as a result of shock due to fluid loss rather than blood loss.

Q1) What is a Virus?

A virus is an infectious microbe consisting of a segment of nucleic acid (either DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone; instead, it must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of itself. Often, a virus ends up killing the host cell in the process, causing damage to the host organism. Well-known examples of viruses causing human disease include AIDS, COVID-19, measles and smallpox.

Source: Scientists find potential new drug target to prevent Ebola