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Background on Ebola

The natural host for the Ebola virus has yet to be identified. The Ebola virus, otherwise known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a type of virus that affects both humans and primates.

After some research, scientists are finding evidence that suggests bats are the most likely source of the virus that is now emerging into society.

According to the World Health Organization, the virus originates in Africa, where there are five different strains: Zaire, Sudan, Bundibugyo, Reston, and Tai Forest. Only two of the strains, Zaire and Sudan, are known to have cause great human casualties.

The virus is believed to cause infection if consumed through the mouth.

Reports are showing that foods with saliva, therefore contaminated, or meats consumed by an individual, like primates who are infected, can cause infection with the virus to the human.

The initial signs of infection begin from two to 21 days of exposure. The symptoms are similar to that of a fever (chills, body aches, and loss in appetite.) As the virus spreads, the body develops a skin rash, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and dramatic weight loss. The main area the virus affects is the Central Nervous System.

To diagnose Ebola, doctors test antigens in the patient’s blood. The patient is kept in isolation until confirmation is found. The virus cannot be ruled out until the tests are conducted and precautions must be taken.

Treatment is tough, since there is not known cure for the virus, supportive therapy is the main source of treatment.

Bodily functions are monitored, along with oxygen levels and electrolytes. The clothes of the individual are disposed of, to prevent the spreading of the disease.

Since the treatment of the virus is main supportive therapy, visitors are encouraged to help the infected recover.

Visitors and practitioners are required to wear disposable gloves, googles, face masks, and medical gowns for protection.

The virus reappeared in Guinea in February 2014, with cases increasing to 242 by April, which included 142 deaths, making fatality rate around 59%.

Ebola has now made its way to the United States from Africa. It is believed that protocol breaches led to two nurses in Dallas being infected with Ebola. Voluntary quarantines have been ineffective in preventing the spread of the virus as well. Rules and guidelines to protect the community are not being taken into consideration.

Thomas Eric Duncan was the first American diagnosed with the Ebola virus after his visit in Liberia before returning home to Dallas, Texas, where he died after treatment was attempted on October 8th.

Dr. Rick Sacra, who contracted the virus aboard while treating non-Ebola patients, was brought to the Nebraska Medical Center for treatment where he received a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, who survived his Ebola scare in early August.

Sacra is believed to have recovered from the virus, after his release from Nebraska Medical Center.

After treatment, Sacra was taken to a UMass Memorial Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection.

Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance American cameraman, working for NBC News and Vice News contracted Ebola in West Africa, and arrived at the Nebraska Medical Center for treatment in the beginning of October.

In Dallas, a nurse who treated Duncan was infected with the virus on October 12th.

Because there was not clear cut protocol on how to approach or treat the infected individuals, those who came in contact are now showing positive results of infection.

Meanwhile, Amber Vinson, who also treated Duncan, tested positive with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, before being transferred to Emory University Hospital.

There has only been one fatality in the Ebola cases in the United States, with two successful recoveries. Health officials are now taking serious protocol measures to prevent the spread and infection of other individuals.

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