Viral Hemorrhagic Fever ebola Essay Research Paper

Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (ebola) Essay, Research Paper

Viral Hemorrhagic Fever

How would you like it if you died? Well

that?s what?s happening to people in Africa.

Their families die around them, spreading the

deadly disease further into the ecosystem.

Killing at will, this potent filovirus sweeps

through villages with reckless abandon,

destroying anything and everything in it?s way,

and then just as mysteriously as it came, it

disappears without a trace. Even with our

modern technologies, we still don?t really know

too much about this death sentence disguised as

a virus. In the following, I will do my best to

teach you about Ebola, its cousins, where it?s

from, possible cures, effects, and so on. If we

want to, we can find a cure. We control our

destiny, and it?s up to us to find an anecdote

to this killing machine.

The Ebola virus is a highly contagious

filovirus that can be transmitted by re-use of

unsterilized syringes, needles, and directly

transferring it by contact of bodily fluids that

contain high levels, or ?bricks? of virus.

Aerosol transmission cannot be counted out, but

water vapor containing secretions of Ebola are

known to spread the infection. Seeing that

Ebola can be spread in numerous ways, including

being spread from animal to human, and

visa-versa, monkey handlers who work with Ebola

ridden monkeys have broken out with the infamous

hemorragic fever. The animal-to-human spread of

the virus has also killed off African tribes

that eat animals with high titers of the deadly


Ebola is an infectious disease of many faces.

It has strains, such as Mayinga, or Cardinal,

which are mainly named after people, or places

that they are discovered in. Strains are

slightly different versions of a certain virus.

Ebola?s three types that are known are: Ebola

Zaire, Ebola Sudan, and Ebola Reston. Ebola

Zaire was first discovered in 1976 in Zaire. It

is the deadliest disease of all of the Ebola

strains with a 9 out of 10 kill rate (see fig.

1-1). Ebola Sudan kills over 1/2 of the people

it comes in contact with. It was discovered in

1976 also. Ebola Reston was named after Reston,

Virginia, which had a shipment of cynomolgus

macaques, a type of monkey, infect a whole

monkey house with Ebola. Ebola Reston has

never killed anyone, but it killed 80% of the

monkeys that it devastated.

Ebola also has a very close cousin, Marburg.

Under an electron microscope, they are clearly

filoviradae. Filoviruses are characterized by

their notorious for their nucleotide with

strands, or ?tails?, which make it look like a

?cheerio with a tail?. Marburg, which

obliterates one in four of its victims, was

named after a city in Germany. Marburg, Germany

received a shipment of Marburg monkeys from

Uganda that infected 31 people, killing 7 of

them. In later years five more people broke out

with the dire Marburg virus, destroying all but

one of them. Marburg and Ebola both have to be

identified under an electron microscope.

Marburg was discovered before Ebola (see fig.

1-2), so when Ebola Zaire swept through Africa

in 1976, it was mistaken as milder version,


Ebola has been traced to Africa, where the

majority of cases occur, and the Philippines, in

which monkeys had been found with Ebola Reston.

Most of our knowledge of Ebola came in 1976,

when the biggest outbreak occurred. It stormed

through Zaire wiping out complete villages. In

all 550 cases were reported with 430 fatalities

When USAMRIID led an investigation to find

where Ebola was found in nature, they traced it

to Kitum Cave, in Zaire. As Colonel Gene

Johnson said, ?I?m completely sure we have

finally found the true hiding place of Ebola.?

After extensive testing of nearly 10,000 animals

and insects, they found no trace of Ebola.

Other expeditions followed, with the same

disappointments as the Kitum Cave search.

Ebola and other filoviruses kill people by

decomposing the body before it does away with

its victims. Usually their organs liquefy

before they ?crash? in a gruesome instance in

which blood and liquefied tissue spew from every

orifice in the body. The virus is composed of a

nucleus, and strands of RNA, for replication.

It makes its living by taking over cells and

bursting them creating an amplified amount of

virus. In some deaths, the virus disfigures the

corpse so badly that it is not recognizably

human. Once you get Ebola chances of survival

are minimal.

With all that Ebola can do, we still haven?t

found a certain cure. Radiation therapy had

been used with little effects on the virus

itself, it slowed the replication by destroying

RNA, but there was too much of the virus to kill

and it was unproved that it worked, seeing as it

was tested on only a few people. In all the

cases of people were too weak and died from the

radiation therapy. Also tried was survivors?

plasma. When enough was used, it reduced the

death rate up to 30% but it also is not a

definite cure for Ebola, or its subtypes. To

the best of our knowledge, there still is no

cure for the dreaded disease.

All mammals can contact Ebola, and spread it

to other mammals, insects and reptiles have been

found to contract Ebola through extensive

testing in the CDC located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The main animal that gets the virus seems to be

monkeys, but since there has never been a case

of Ebola found in nature, this has never been

confirmed, but it cannot be discounted.

Ebola seems to travel fast in a chain

reaction that is similar to an ant trap. The

only difference is the person contacts it and

spreads it to other people, not an ant, killing

almost everyone, and then it ?hibernates?. We

think that Ebola kills so fast that it doesn?t

have a chance to represent itself in other

victims. In a way, Ebola is the only reason it

doesn?t spread around the world on a fatal

rampage. It seems to kill itself by killing us.

Another reason is the fact that we set up tight

customs wherever an outbreak occurs. The 1976

outbreak had the potential to wipe out the whole

world, but anyone from the area was isolated for

18 days before traveling to a different country.

An unpredictable virus, Ebola destroys

hundreds and disappears. Since no one knows a

cure for it, it is extremely hard to contain,

and even when it?s ?contained?, it kills at

another place without warning. One of the main

contributors to the outbreaks have been its

symptoms, which are similar to the common flu

and malaria in the beginning. Filoviruses are

diagnosed by their symptoms. It is especially

hard to diagnose a single case of Hemmorragic

Fever, but when a cluster of cases occur, it is

usually diagnosed correctly. Symptoms of

Hemorragic Fever include diarrhea, bruises,

rashes of blood spots known as a maculopopular

rash, black vomit (which is dead tissue and

blood produced from Ebola), glassy eyes, weight

loss, other bacterial infections, headache, and

even hiccups. These symptoms are almost

identical to malaria, Lassa, Rift Valley Fever,

yellow fever, and the common influenza. These

symptoms make it all the more difficult to

diagnose a case of Ebola.

When working with a patient or corpse that

has Ebola, personnel are required to take all

the precautions of a level four hot zone (the

highest level). These include a ?space suit?

with a battery powered respirator, five pairs of

gloves, no sharp objects that aren?t required

for the procedure, and a chemical shower. These

precautions basically eliminate the chance of

personnel working with Ebola to contact it.

To detect Ebola in an autopsy-perhaps-one

could do a number of things, they could: use

ultraviolet rays to detect Ebola in smears of

tissue, cell cultures, isolation in animals,

immunohistochemistry on a fixed tissues (using a

regular microscope to detect small differences

in microscopic objects, such as a virus), and

the use of an electron microscope.

Ebola contains the same amino acids as in the

body. Among these proteins is SGP which is

thought to be what links Ebola to humans. Ebola

truly is an RNA virus which spreads through

proteins secreted in the viruses themselves.

With this information we may be on the verge of

genetically morphing the virus to be virtually

harmless. RNA, which copies the virus, would

not be able to produce, so the progression of

the virus would be impossible. By doing this we

would beat the virus at its own game of virion

morphology (the process in which the virus

drastically changes to take on completely new

characteristics), which is what makes it so


Now that you know the bare facts of the Ebola

virus, don?t you think it?s kind of remarkable?

Not in a good way, of course, but in the way

that it is able to scare you senseless. Would

you like to die from a Viral Hemorragic Fever, I

didn?t think so. So in order to stop it, we

have to work together to find a cure.



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