How to Tell Signs and Symptoms of Ebola Virus
July 7, 2014 4:14 PM EST
It was about a decade ago when people first saw the devastating effects of the Ebola virus on film. The movie "Outbreak" showed how the disease originated from monkeys then quickly spread to humans, causing death on the same day that it was acquired. The fact is, Ebola virus or Ebola hemorrhagic fever comes from the body fluids or waste of infected animals like fruit bats, monkeys and chimps. There were two outbreaks in Africa in 1976. The name comes from the Ebola River in Congo.
World Health Organistation (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan addresses the 67th World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva
About 90% of infected individuals die -- and with rumors emerging that it could (could!) reach Australia, it is vital to know the signs and symptoms quickly. In an interview with NPR, infectious diseases specialist Kamran Khan said that if the current outbreak in Ghana DOES spread to the West, Paris may be the first hit, although that chance is "very, very low."
The Initial Symptoms
The early symptoms of Ebola virus will appear within two to 21 days after a person is infected. In the beginning, the person may develop mild flu-like symptoms like fever, body weakness, diarrhea, headache, muscle pain and sore throat. Many may think that they only acquired a common cold or minor respiratory problem, taking pain relievers and fever-fighting medications. Individuals should watch out if the fever does not subside in 24 to 36 hours or gets worse. If the fever is too high, the patient may develop convulsions.
The Developing Symptoms
When the signs and symptoms of Ebola virus develop, internal bleeding will take place as the disease attacks the immune cells of the body. The platelets will be destroyed by the disease. Platelets are important for blood-clotting, so if these are unavailable, the person will bleed from the inside, which is usually the cause of death for most patients. Some of the middle stage symptoms include a rash, bruises and difficulty breathing. The person might also bleed from the nose or other body openings.
Once these symptoms develop, the patient has to be tested to rule out the presence of other diseases which can have similar signs and symptoms. Diagnostic tests will determine and rule out problems like typhoid fever, malaria, meningitis, cholera and hepatitis. The ELISA test will check the tissues and blood to single out Ebola virus. The person has to be kept in isolation to prevent the spread of the diseases.
There is no current cure for Ebola virus, so doctors only try to keep the infected person as healthy as possible by providing blood transfusions, good nutrition and oxygen.