Ebola is a very fatal disease which is caused due to a virus. After infecting a person, the Ebola virus kills cells and makes them explode. The virus damages the immune system, results in bleeding within the body and causes damage to most of the organs. The only way you can get affected by this virus is by coming in direct contact of body fluids such as blood, vomit, urine, sweat, stool, breast milk, semen and tears of any already infected person.
Symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease
If a person gets infected by ebola virus then some of the common symptoms that are seen include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle weakness
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- High fever
The symptoms begin appearing between 2 to 21 days and are followed by rashes, impaired liver function, vomiting, saliva, stomach pain and diarrhea.
Afterwards internal bleeding starts and the patient can also bleed from nose, ears, mouth or eyes. This disease is fatal in about 55-85% of all the cases and thus medication should be started early so that patient has better chances of surviving.
In early stages other illnesses such as typhoid, flu and malaria have symptoms very similar to those of Ebola which is why it is necessary to undergo medical assessment to that the disease can be diagnosed properly and required treatment started.
Diagnosis of Ebola Virus Disease
Diagnosis involves performing blood test such as Elisa and PCR to trace the virus. The blood test generally also reveals low platelet count, reduction in white blood cells and presence of high percentage of liver enzymes.
For diagnosis doctors also monitor the activities person was involved in and whether the person was in contact with someone who is already infected by Ebola virus.
Ebola Virus Disease Prevention
Unfortunately no vaccine is available as yet for preventing Ebola infection. All the prevention techniques mainly aim to prevent contact with body fluids or blood of infected patient.
Few of the things which can be done to prevent spread of the disease include avoiding travel to places where Ebola virus outbreak has occurred and taking right precautions while giving health care to people already affected by the disease.
Precautionary techniques would include use of protective dress consisting of gloves, masks, goggles and gowns. Other methods would include total sterilization of equipments and use of disinfectants. It is also necessary to completely isolate patients from getting in contact with other people.
Treatment of Ebola Virus Disease
Since there is no vaccine available as yet for the disease, it is only possible to provide supportive care measures such as:
- Management of electrolyte balance in the patient.
- If required giving extra oxygen.
- Providing medicines for maintaining blood pressure.
- Treatment of co-existing infections.
- Prevention of dehydration by giving intravenous fluids.
- Prevention from being inflicted by other infections.
Certain antibodies develop in the blood of Ebola virus survivors which can protect such people from same virus strain for up to ten years. But it cannot be said surely whether they will get affected by other strains or not.
After recovery it is possible that the Ebola virus stays in a man’s semen for as long as three month, thus it is better to use condom or avoid sex during this time period. Similarly, the virus remains in breast milk for as long as two weeks after recovery and women should not breastfeed during this time.
Thus as we can see Ebola virus is very deadly and preventing contact with bodily fluids of an already infected person is the only way of stopping its spread. By early diagnosis it is possible to take remedial actions and recover from this disease.