Published On: Thu, Aug 14th, 2014

Ebola Virus-A real threat for mankind in 2014

Ebola virus, this particular virus has drawn the attention of people all over the world recently. Ebola virus causes Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) which is a disease of humans and other primates. Symptoms start from 2 days to three week after contracting the virus.

The main symptoms of the disease are

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Lack of appetite

Some patients may also develop additional symptoms such as

  • Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Hiccups
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Unexplained bleeding inside and outside of the body

Till date the manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the beginning of an outbreak in unknown. However it has been cited that coming in contact with an infected animal may be the possible cause for the person getting infected with the virus.

The virus in transferred from one person to other in the following way

  • a sick person’s blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen)
  • objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected body fluids
  • infected animals

The family members of the person infected with the virus are at a greater chance of getting infected. During outbreaks of Ebola HF, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings (such as a clinic or hospital). Exposure to Ebola viruses can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff is not wearing appropriate protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves.

Ebola virus has been found in several African countries. The first Ebola virus was found near river Ebola, the place is now in Congo.

The current Ebola outbreak that has occurred is believed to have affected the following countries

  • Guinea
  • Liberia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Nigeria

Since the actual reason how the virus is spread is yet to be discovered, therefore we cannot point out the prevention measures. However as the family members of the person infected with the virus and the health workers are at a greater risk of getting infected, therefore barrier nursing technique should be applied to prevent the disease from getting spread.

Barrier nursing techniques include:

  • wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
  • the use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
  • Isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.

The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or secretions of an infected patient. If a patient with Ebola HF dies, it is equally important that direct contact with the body of the deceased patient be prevented.

Standard treatment for Ebola HF is still limited to supportive therapy. This consists of:

  • balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes
  • maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure
  • treating them for any complicating infections

If the disease is discovered at early stage, then it can be treated easily however at later stages it can be severe and pose a threat to life.

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