What is the Ebola virus?

by Terre des hommes | Terre des hommes (Tdh) - Switzerland
Monday, 24 March 2014 15:12 GMT

Tdh/Sandro Mahler

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What is the Ebola virus?

The epidemic of the haemorrhagic fever that has extended in the south of the country since the beginning of February appears to be the Ebola virus.«This is the worst news that one could expect as we know that this virus is the most deadly virus for human beings»regrets Olivier Feynerol, head of the Terre des hommes delegation in Guinea (http://www.tdh.ch/en/countries/guinea).

What is the Ebola virus?

The Ebola virus is a severe acute viral illness. During EHF outbreaks, the case-fatality rate has varied from outbreak to outbreak between 25% and 90%. The Ebola virus is dangerous for human.

What are the symptoms ?

The Ebola virus is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

What is the transmission of the virus ?

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. Later Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people. Burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Transmission via infected semen can occur up to seven weeks after clinical recovery.

How to treat the victims of the virus ?
Severe cases require intensive supportive care. No specific treatment or vaccine is yet available for the Ebola virus.

How can we prevent the propagation of the virus ?

Different measures can be taken to prevent the propagation of the virus:

1. Avoid close contact with infected patients
It is important to handle with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing .
2. Secrured funerary rites
Communities affected by Ebola should inform the population about the nature of the disease and about outbreak containment measures, including burial of the deceased. People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried.
3. Take protective consuption measures
Reducing the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission from contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their raw meat. Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. Their products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
4. Regular hand washing is required
5. Avoid unnecessary travel

Source : OMS Factsheet (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/fr/)