The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

The words “Ebola virus” are terrifying to those who hear them. The same words are equally frightening for those who contract the disease and so terrifying for the relatives of the infected victim. All fear is with the due cause. Ebola or Ebola virus (EVE) disease is certainly something that proves to be a serious concern. The virus can spread rapidly and can be deadly.

The disease does not have an existing vaccine, although researchers are working on the development of a vaccine at this time and, over time, can save thousands of lives with a simple injection. While people seem to know that they fear the disease instinctively, many people hear the word Ebola and are not sure what the disease is or if it is treatable.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

Here we will examine everything from the symptoms of Ebola to the therapeutic modalities and the supportive care that is used to care for unfortunate victims.

Definition of the Ebola virus

A potentially painful and deadly disease, Ebola virus disease (EVE) is a disease that can cause hemorrhagic fevers. The virus is a condition marked by high fever, internal bleeding and the failure of organs in the body. In many cases, the disease results in death.

Ebola is related and is similar to the Marburg virus, another type of hemorrhagic fever discovered in Germany in the 1970s. This disease is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, and one with the power to spread rapidly. There are five variants of the disease, and three are dangerous. Dr. Congo is responsible for the discovery of the virus in the mid-1970s.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

The disease enters the body and destroys white blood cells while attacking the victim’s immune system. Cells infected with the Ebola virus spread throughout the body. Blood clots form inside the body as the clotting agents become depleted. The early stages of the disease are similar to the flu, which makes Ebola even more insidious, since it seems to be a much less deadly disease in its early stages.

The Ebola virus is one that is not transmitted through the air, at least not outside a laboratory environment. In the laboratory, the virus has shown evidence of being able to transmit animals through aerial means. The aerial transmission of primates to humans is not an event that researchers have seen to date. The virus does not spread through the consumption of food or by drinking contaminated water. Mosquitoes do not transmit the disease.

Origin of the disease

It is not clear where EDV originates from, but there are theories about how the disease spreads. Some theories suggest that Ebola passes from an animal infected with the virus to an uninfected person. There have been reports in Africa where it was believed that contaminated bushmeat (wild animals hunted and consumed as food) was the point of origin. The meat is contaminated with the Ebola virus and causes the transmission of the virus between the animal and the person who finds it.

The types of animals infected with the virus include, among others, bats, duikers, baboons, gorillas, chimpanzees and different species of monkeys. The main theories suggest that the animals contract the infection once they eat wild fruits that have been contaminated by a bat that carried the virus.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

When a person receives EDV it is because the person has hired one of five Ebolavirus virus. These five dangerous viruses include the Ebola virus Zaire or EBOV, which is the marked virus responsible for the largest outbreaks of this deadly disease. The rest of the list is completed with the Bundibugyo or BDBV virus, the Tai Forest virus or TAFV, and the Sudan virus or SUDV. The Reston virus (RESTV) causes Ebola disease in primates, but not the cause in humans.

Headaches, sore throat, body aches and pains, malaise, body discomfort and fever are the first signs that something is wrong. In the last stages of the disease, the victims suffer a lot.

Animal behavior, fruit production and a host of other factors play a role in whether the Ebola virus spreads or not. The evidence indicates that the virus can infect pigs and dogs. The pigs have demonstrated the ability to transmit the disease to other primates. Dogmatic dogs do not present any symptoms, but can become carriers of Ebola.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

According to an article that appears in the July 2014 edition of The Atlantic, the disease can start with bats. In an article entitled “Where does Ebola come from?”, By Olga Kahzan, the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Africa was under consideration.

Kahzan quotes an EcoHealth Alliance epidemiologist, Jonathan Epstein, who considers whether a bat has excrement, urine or saliva on fruit or food, or whether bat, urine or sage droppings were responsible for the transmission of the disease. disease. The question of whether a bat was to blame for the Ebola outbreak in 2014 remains questionable, as there are many pig farms that attract bats in the country.

The outbreak of the disease in 2014 had a survival rate of around 50 percent. There were 16 million people who contracted the disease that lived in the infected regions of Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Of those who fell ill, 8.5 million were 20 years old or younger, and 2.5 million were children under the age of five.

Ebola transmission

When the big Ebola outbreak occurred in 2014, people were on high alert and asked many questions. One of the main questions people ask is “How does Ebola spread?”

What is clear is that Ebola requires a living animal host, and once a human makes contact with the body fluid of the infected animal, Ebola is transmitted to the innocent victim. According to the World Health Organization, a victim must be extremely ill to be contagious and be able to transmit the disease to others.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

Once the virus infects a human there is an incubation period. The disease passes from one person to another when contact with body fluids occurs between the infected and the uninfected. Fluids that carry the Ebola virus include semen, urine, breast milk, tears, perspiration, faces, vomiting, mucus and saliva. Most cases are spread when a victim encounters infected blood, feces or urine.

The virus can and will enter the human body through abrasions, cuts, wounds and eyes, mouth and nose. The Ebola virus has the ability to survive a few hours if it is on a dry surface. However, if the virus is contained in the body fluid, it can remain alive and deadly for up to a couple of days. The disease also spreads by sharing contaminated hypodermic needles. The sources vary in terms of information about when the symptoms manifest themselves.

The Mayo Clinic online suggests that the onset of Ebola symptoms is often sudden, unexpected, and manifests itself in five to ten days after contact with an infected animal or individual. Alternative sources suggest that the onset of symptoms may begin as early as two days after infection, but may take up to 21 days to appear. The average case takes four to ten days to develop symptoms. However, mathematical models have predicted that approximately 5% of all cases of EVD may take more than 21 days for symptoms to appear.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

If a victim does not survive, the deceased’s body is still infected with the virus. Therefore, anyone who handles the remains of the deceased of a person who has had Ebola should be very careful not to become infected after caring for the body of the deceased. After the Ebola outbreak in New Guinea 2014, it is estimated that almost 70% of all cases were initiated by contact with a person who died of the disease.

Health professionals run the risk of getting an infection when dealing with a person who has the disease. The risks of contracting the disease increase when the health professional does not handle the patient correctly or the professional does not wear a suit of dangerous material or other protective clothing. To care for a victim, the health professional must wear safety clothing and the professional must take firm and even drastic measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Symptomatology of Ebola

The symptoms associated with EVD are systemic. The infected individual will begin to experience a series of symptoms not different from those associated with the onset of influenza. Infected people may feel fatigued, exhausted, weak, sore and develop a fever. There is also joint pain and muscle discomfort, along with sore throat and headache.

In general, the fever will rise to more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.3 degrees Celsius. After the first series of flu-like symptoms appear, those infected can become nauseous and start vomiting. Abdominal discomfort is common, as is the onset of diarrhea.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

As the disease progresses, the symptoms increase in severity. Later, the symptoms of the Ebola virus include the appearance of chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion, swelling and increased intensity of headaches. About fifty percent of all people who have advanced symptoms of the Ebola virus end up having a rash composed of small, red, flat bumps identified as a maculopapular rash. The rash lasts for five to seven days after the onset of symptoms. In severe cases, the EVD victim may develop internal and external bleeding.

The last symptoms can appear between five and seven days after the onset of the initial symptoms. Each victim who contracts EVD demonstrates poor blood clotting. In up to 50% of all cases, bleeding has occurred at injection sites and mucous limbs. Some victims end up with bloody stools, vomiting or coughing up blood. Heavy bleeding does not happen often, but if it does, the problem is with the individual’s gastrointestinal tract.

Death is possible and commonly occurs within six to 16 days from the first onset of symptoms. Petechiae may occur (a form of bleeding just below the skin that causes a purple rash). Sometimes, victims have blood appearing in the white area of ​​the eyes. Below is a table that illustrates when many symptoms occur:

Days after 4 to 9 days from the initial infection Start symptoms
Days 1 to 3 The first days of the disease when symptoms begin to appear. The symptoms can even be confused with the flu.
Days 4 to 7. The symptoms progress to anemia, headaches, hypotension, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Days 7 to 10. Internal bleeding, external hemorrhage, confusion.
The disease can lead to shock, coma and death.

There are two outcomes for EVE, final recovery or death. Some patients have shown that the recovery process began seven to 14 days after the first onset of symptoms. A victim may die between 6 and 16 days after the onset of the disease due to a variety of complications. Below is a list of possible complications that one may face when contracting Ebola:

Days from the initial onset of symptoms. Complication
6 to 16 days The onset of bleeding is indicative of a poor outcome for the victim. The loss of too much blood can lead to the death of the victim.
The loss of fluid that leads to low blood pressure can lead to the death of the victim.
The victim goes into a coma; Usually, this symptom occurs before the death of the victim.

Advanced stages of the Ebola virus

The first signs of EVD have been examined. As the disease progresses, several parts of the body fall under the attack of the virus. One of the main signs of the disease that enters the advanced stages is identifiable when the victim begins to vomit blood. Internal and external bleeding occurs. Under the skin and inside the body, more negative effects are underway. The disease begins to destroy the cells of hepatocytes: the functional cells of the liver.

The virus also attacked endothelial cells, which are responsible for forming the lining of blood vessels. Diarrhea is a sign of advanced stages of the disease, as is sudden kidney failure. The organs are being damaged and begin to close. In addition, the virus will attack the blood cells in the arteries, the phagocytes, which are responsible for the absorption of foreign particles in the body.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

In advanced stages of EVE, the patient will develop blood clots in the body, all of which begin to destroy organs. The blood will start to have problems coagulating. The body turns on itself and, in what is identified as a storm of cytokines, the immune system begins to attack the body instead of foreign entities.

The kidneys, the liver, the genitals, the eyes, the intestines and the brain are subject to attacks. The victim’s vascular system also suffers damage. External and internal bleeding begins when the blood vessels become damaged and the patient begins to bleed from the holes, mucous limbs and wounds. The patient may also bleed from the injection sites.

Recovery and long-term repercussions.

After a successful treatment against Ebola, the individual develops natural antibodies against EVE. However, the question remains whether these antibodies will prevent the individual from contracting Ebola in the future. Unfortunately, the victim who suffers from EVD may experience long-term problems. It may take months to recover and some of the problems an Ebola survivor may experience include:

  • Anxiety attacks
  • Cessation of the menstrual cycle
  • Chest pain
  • Diminished appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss
  • Inflammation
  • Problems with memory
  • Problems to recover the weight lost during the illness
  • Neurological issues
  • Muscle pain
  • Pain in the joints.
  • Long-term poor health

Even after recovery, men may have the Ebola virus present in their semen; This can be problematic because it means that the individual can still transmit the disease through sexual contact with another person. Likewise, women who are breastfeeding and who contract the virus can carry the virus in breast milk for up to three months after recovery. The woman should stop breastfeeding completely.

A case in 2014 revealed a recovered Ebola victim who still had signs of the Ebola virus in his eyes two full months after his recovery. Ultimately, some of the unfortunate victims who are fortunate enough to survive are not fortunate enough to escape the post-Ebola syndrome and its symptoms mentioned above.


There is no medical treatment or vaccine to prevent or cure Ebola. When a person contracts the disease, all the medical community can do is offer the victim supportive treatment and deal with medical complications as they arise. Those who offer supportive care to the victim, particularly health professionals, run a significant risk of contracting the virus if they do not follow the appropriate protocol to prevent the spread of the disease.

The disease is more frequent in parts of Africa where health care is relatively poor. In some hospitals, there is no running water and the needles are even reused and this is where Ebola can spread in a hospital environment. Poor sanitary conditions will definitely contribute to the spread of the disease.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

In the United States, preventing the spread of the disease requires health workers to learn and follow the correct safety protocol. The health professional should wear special clothing to prevent accidental exposure to the virus. It is imperative that the support team does not come in contact with the body fluids of those infected. The disease is transmitted through blood, urine, saliva, feces and sweat.

Treating the patient involves nothing more than treating the symptoms and not the disease. The victim is quarantined, kept hydrated and symptoms are managed as they occur. Health professionals have to offer the victim wound care, preventive care and treatment of secondary infections, blood transfusions, intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy and solutions for pain management.

Protective health garb

Health professionals should wear safety clothing when dealing with the infected. The Center for Disease Control has made recommendations related to what the professional should use in dealing with the Ebola victim. The CDC even updated the previous guidelines to reflect the most recent safety recommendations. The previous guidelines required that the health worker put on a respirator or mask, safety glasses, a pair of rubber gloves and no shoes or leg covers.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

The latest guidelines have changed considerably, and such changes are indicative of recognition by the Center for Disease Control of the extremely serious and dangerous nature of the virus and of the health workers who require defense against it. The new guidelines recommend that a health worker wear a disposable face shield, a respirator, a waterproof apron, a liquid-resistant gown or dressing gown, two pairs of protective gloves and pants and shoe covers that are resistant to liquids.

The Center for Disease Control has also provided comprehensive guidelines on how the health worker should use each device. The glasses should be tight against the face, and the mask should cover the entire face and pass the person’s chin. The rubber gloves should not only cover the hands, but also the wrists of the protective gown to keep them tight in place. The elimination of clothing is planned with equal care to ensure that the health worker is not exposed to the virus.

In conclusion

What is clear after examining the negative effects of a disease such as Ebola is that, in all aspects, it is terrifying. The World Health Organization and Medecins San Frontieres, of Médecins Sans Frontières, have identified Ebola as one of the deadliest diseases on the planet.

The Ebola Virus: Virus Origin, Transmission, Symptoms and Recovery

Since the disease is incredibly infectious; Its first symptoms are deceptive and make it appear that a person has the flu, and the absence of a vaccine for the disease allows Ebola to take thousands of lives each year. The disease has an extremely high mortality rate, with 90 percent of all victims dying of contracting the virus. Therefore, researchers are working energetically to produce a vaccine to prevent the disease and, hopefully, will soon develop a cure.


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