Ebola virus disease

Ebola virus disease

Ebola virus disease. Ebola is a rare disease caused by the Ebola virus. It is one of the most dangerous infections in the world. More than 50% of patients die. Ebola first appeared in Sudan and Congo in 1976. Since then there have been several epidemics that usually fade out quickly. These epidemics almost always occur in remote villages near tropical rainforests in Central and West Africa. The natural hosts of the Ebola virus are bats in the rainforest. The virus can easily spread to other animals (monkeys, wild boar, antelopes). People can become infected through contact with (dead) sick animals.

The virus can then be transmitted from person to person. Human to human infection can only occur through contact with body fluids (urine, blood, sweat, saliva, sperm, relief of a sick or deceased Ebola patient. The virus is not spread via air or food. There is no therapy available yet. With the right measures quickly, it is possible to contain epidemics. Local information about the risks of bushmeat and the way in which the virus is transmitted is therefore very important. Furthermore, patients must be nursed in isolation by trained people with protective clothing.

How do you recognize Ebola?

Between 2 and 21 days after the infection, symptoms of fever, muscle pain, weakness, headache, followed by vomiting and diarrhea may occur. With further disease spread, liver, lung, and kidney problems and serious life-threatening bleeding may occur.

How does Ebola arise?

Ebola is caused by infection with the Ebola virus. Infection occurs after contact with body fluids from infected people or animals. The virus enters the body and can multiply there. The virus spreads through the blood through the body and is able to lay down the immune system. Then the virus multiplies undisturbed and causes major life-threatening damage to the body. The symptoms of the disease manifest themselves between 2 and 21 days after the infection, usually between 8 and 10 days.

What can you expect?

Ebola is a life-threatening disease. Isolated nursing takes place after the diagnosis. No treatment is possible yet. Important aspects of care are treating dehydration and preventing other infections. Unfortunately, more than 50% of people die from the disease. Due to the current epidemic, there is a new incentive for research into treatment options. The developments in this are hopeful. After healing, men can still transmit the virus through the sperm for at least 7 weeks.

When to the doctor?

Contact your doctor by telephone if you get flu-like symptoms after you may have been in contact with contaminated human or animal body fluids. Make it clear that an Ebola infection is possible.

What can you do about it yourself?

There is little you can do yourself when you have Ebola. The most important thing is to prevent other people from coming into contact with body fluids. Your doctors will take care of isolated nursing and keeping your general condition optimal.

General advice and precautions?

Ebola is a very rare infection. The chance of being infected is very small. There is a risk of contamination, especially with direct contact with body fluids from (deceased) patients. Therefore, avoid contact with body fluids or objects that may be contaminated with them. Ensure good protection by wearing face protection (glasses and mouth mask), protective clothing and gloves. Avoid contact with animals in risk areas. Before you travel, consult the current travel advice from the government. The WHO does not recommend precautionary measures to airlines with regard to screening for symptoms in travelers.

Source: Dr. van Donselaar

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