Ebola Virus 5 Essay, Research Paper
He opens his mouth and gasps into the bag, and the vomiting goes on endlessly. It will not stop, he keeps bringing up liquid, long after his stomach should have been empty. The airsickness bag fills up to the brim with a substance known as vomito negro, or black vomit. The vomit is not really black; it is speckled liquid of two colors, black and red, a stew of tarry granules mixed with fresh red arterial blood. It is hemorrhage, and it smells like a slaughterhouse. The black vomit is loaded with the virus. It is highly infective, lethally hot, liquid that would scare the daylights out of any military biohazard specialist.
- excerpt from THE HOT ZONE by Richard Preston -
Ebola is a part of the negative stranded RNA family known as filovirus. Negative stranded RNA is a single strand of RNA that is the genome of the virus. Once the virus infects a cell, the RNA makes a positive opposite copy of itself so that the new positive copy can make new negative genomes. The virus takes about 8 hours to replicate. Then hundreds to thousands of new virus particles are released during periods of hours to a few days, before the cell dies. Filovirus means thread like which is the shape of the virus.
A doctor who while working on an autopsy became infected with it discovered Ebola in 1972 in Africa in Zaire. He was tested in 1976 after Ebola had been identified and was found to carry antibodies. Ebola is simply called the Ebola virus, which is the microbe s name. Ebola is considered a level 4 pathogen, which is the most deadly level of a pathogen. AIDS is only a level 2 pathogen.
Ebola takes place with the liver cells and cells of the reticuloendothelial system. In those places the lining of the blood capillaries are attacked. Then the capillaries start to leak fluids and plasma proteins. Which can cause clinical shock, which is irreversible. The incubation period is anywhere from 2 to 21 days and 7 to 14 days is most common. After infected with Ebola victims begin with a fever and muscle aches. This will then progress until the victim starts to develop respiratory problems, severe bleeding, kidney problems, and shock. Later the virus will cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, sore throat, and chest pain may occur, then the disease will progress to where blood fails to clot and the victim will start to bleed from the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and internal organs. The blood that is vomited up has high concentrations of the virus and even the corpses must be disposed of properly or the virus will spread.
As of now there is no cure or vaccine. The host to Ebola is unknown which is a part to figure out a cure or vaccine. A lot of people think that monkeys are the hosts of the virus but is very unlikely since monkeys die as quickly as humans. The disease would need to find a host capable of transmitting the disease, not something that will die quick. The virus lives the longest in the reproductive organs, so an infected male may have the virus in his testicles longer than any other part of his body and can be infectious of up to seven weeks.
The death rate of Ebola is about 90% and so far there have been no second infections among the person who had it. Recent studies have found that if immunity exists after infection, the virus may be virus strain specific.
There are five known members in the Ebola family which are known as Marburg, Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, Ebola Reston, and Ebola Tai; of the genus Filoviridae.
This virus is spread through close contact with the infected person, sexual contact, and by reusing needles, which is common in developing countries. There is also one strain of Ebola that is airborne but is not fatal if treated right. Recent outbreaks have occurred in places such as Zaire, Gabon, Sudan, and even in Texas.