An ongoing epidemic of the Ebola virus disease has spread throughout Guinea and beyond the nation’s borders in West Africa. The outbreak, which began in Guinea in February 2014 and has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, is the most severe in recorded history, both in the number of cases and fatalities. A suspected 1,323 cases with 729 deaths have been reported as of 27 July 2014, with 909 cases and 485 deaths confirmed to be Ebola.
But what is actually Ebola?
Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease caused by the ebola virus.
Ebola virus (formerly officially designated Zaire ebolavirus, or EBOV) is a virological taxon species included in the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae. The Zaire ebolavirus is the most dangerous of the six species of Ebola viruses of the Ebolavirus genus which are the causative agents of Ebola virus disease and it is responsible of the outbreak.
Signs and symptoms: Manifestation begins with a sudden onset of an influenza-like stage characterized by general malaise, fever with chills, sore throat, severe headache, weakness, joint pain, muscle pain, and chest pain. The development of hemorrhagic symptoms is indicative of a negative prognosis. However, contrary to popular belief, hemorrhage does not lead to hypovolemia and is not the cause of death (total blood loss is low except during labor). Instead, death occurs due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) due to fluid redistribution, hypotension, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and focal tissue necroses.
Transmission: Ebola virus is transmitted to a human index case via contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids. Human-to-human transmission occurs via direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected person (including embalming of an infected dead person) or by contact with contaminated medical equipment, particularly needles and syringes. Medical workers who do not wear protective clothing, such as gloves and surgical masks, may also contract the disease.
Treatment: No ebolavirus-specific treatment exists. Treatment is primarily supportive in nature and includes minimizing invasive procedures, balancing fluids and electrolytes to counter dehydration, administration of anticoagulants early in infection to prevent or control disseminated intravascular coagulation, administration of procoagulants late in infection to control hemorrhaging, maintaining oxygen levels, pain management, and administration of antibiotics or antimycotics to treat secondary infections.
Sterilization procedures, isolating patients and good hygienic practices are the only way to prevent transmission.
"I must continue to follow the path I take now. If I do nothing, if I study nothing, if I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it — keep going, keep going come what may. But what is your final goal, you may ask. That goal will become clearer, will emerge slowly but surely, much as the rough draught turns into a sketch, and the sketch into a painting through the serious work done on it, through the elaboration of the original vague idea and through the consolidation of the first fleeting and passing thought". [x]