Ebola: symptoms, transmission, vaccine, how to treat this virus?

Ebola: symptoms, transmission, vaccine, how to treat this virus?

Symptoms, treatment, transmission and progression, here is all that you need to know about the virus which has taken more than 11,000 lives.

The Ebola virus is classed as one of the most contagious and most deadly infectious agents in the world according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Ebola: symptoms of the infection

The first symptoms of the Ebola virus appear around 2 and 21 days after contamination. They include:

- a sudden high fever

- muscle pains

- head aches

- a cough or a bad throat

- abdominal pains

- diarrhoea and vomiting

Skin rashes can also appear as well as kidney and liver failure. Internal and external haemorrhages also occur which further worsen the patient’s state. The most serious cases must be quickly treated.

In 50 to 90% of cases, symptoms lead to a cardio-respiratory shock causing death. This generally occurs between 6 and 16 days after the first symptoms appear. 

Ebola: ways it is transmitted

The virus is from the filovirus family, and is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids such as:

- blood

- sperm

- saliva

- vomit

- stool

In order to avoid being infected, it is necessary to protect the airways and the hands. Therefore, during contact with the illness, it is necessary to wear gloves and a mask.

Ebola: treating the infection

There is currently no vaccination or treatment against the Ebola virus that is credited by health authorities. But during a growing epidemic, experimental treatments have been used. In particular, this treatment is ZMapp, created by the biotechnical firm Mapp Biopharmaceuticals.

Up until now, this antibody cocktail has only been tested on primates but has still been given to people who are infected by Ebola. In the 5 carers treated with ZMapp, 2 haven’t survived according to Nouvel Obs. Doctors have also used another type of experimental treatment made from an antivirus which has shown promising results but has never been tested on humans who have been infected.

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Other possible treatments are also mentioned but all are at a very early stage. Without treatment, an infected patient’s care involves treating the symptoms in order to avoid aggravating the illness.

Stacey Williams
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