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Ebola virus pic.jpg
Scientific Classification
  • Group: Group V
  • Family: Mononegavirales
  • Genus: Filovirus
  • Bundibugyo ebolavirus
  • Ivory Coast ebolavirus
  • Reston ebolavirus
  • Sudan ebolavirus
  • Zaïre ebolavirus

Ebola is a virus that causes the fatal disease called the Ebola hemorrhagic fever. There is a river within the Democratic Republic of the Congo that stands as the origin of the name of the virus. The Ebola hemorrhagic fever rapidly spread to several countries such as: Sudan, Uganda, Gabon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, and the Republic of the Congo. Infections and cases of fatalities engulfed these countries. [1] Families were wounded, pain and suffering bound the lives of so many innocent people, and worst of all, no one knew how to extinguish the contagious fire of this virus. The cause is unknown, but doctors believe that it stems off of a contaminated animal, such as monkeys imported from the Philippians in Virginia. [2] The fatality rate for the Ebola virus is 88%. It is extremely rare when someone who becomes infected survives.[3]


A finger pointing to Sudan, where evidence of the Ebola virus first surfaced.

Evidence of the Ebola virus rose to the surface around 1976 in the countries of Sudan and Zaire. The first eruption of the virus resulted in a death percentage of 53%. While the first outbreak reached 284 people, the second outbreak in Zaire caused 318 people to fall ill. The outbreak in Zaire was far more damaging then the outbreak in Sudan. A middle-aged teacher was just visiting Zaire when he became infected with this deadly disease. He initially thought that he caught malaria, so he went to a hospital in the area to get treated. Unfortunately, the workers fell short of cleaning the needles they used to give vaccines. The Ebola virus reached many people within the hospital walls because of this. Eventually, the virus killed off so many of the doctors working in the hospital that they closed it down to leave the remaining victims of the virus secluded and alone. This all occurred in 1976. [4]

Not even a decade later, in 1989, another outbreak of the Ebola virus was discovered in Virginia. A woman was performing surgery on a dead monkey from Cote d’Ivoire, in 1994, when the virus contaminated her. [5] In 1995, the virus hit the Democratic of the Congo and killed 250 out of the 315 people who fell ill because of the virus. In 1996, 37 people became infected in the country of Gabon and 57% of those people died. Another case struck again in July of 1996 up until January of 1997 killing 45 people. In 1996, a doctor when to South Africa following his exposure to Ebola-infected people and contaminated a local nurse. He survived, but the nurse died. Also in that same year, the virus was found in monkeys from the Philippines within the United States and also in the Philippines. In 2000, the destructive virus struck Uganda killing 224 of the 425 people infected. In 2001 up through 2002, 82% of the people infected in Gabon died and 75% of the people in the Republic of the Congo died. Up through December of 2003, 178 more people became infected and of those people, 157 died. In 2004, the virus returned to Sudan, killing 7 out of the 17 infected. In 2007, 71% of the infected people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo died. At the end of 2007, 42 more people died, once again in Uganda. The last known fatal case of the Ebola virus was in 2011 in Uganda, killing one person. [6]

Causes and Contagiousness

Colorized Marburg virus particles viewed with a transmission electron microscope. This and the five subtypes of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.

There are five different types of Ebola virus that belong to the taxonomic family Filoviridae . Ebola-Sudan virus, Ebola-Bundibugyo, Ebola-Ivory Coast virus, and Ebola-Zaire virus occur in humans. Discovered in the Philippines, is the last type of Ebola virus: Ebola-Reston.[7] The Ebola virus was first discovered in a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after which the virus was named. The virus’ precise origin and location in nature remains unknown to this day, but we do know that it is animal-borne. Cynomolgous monkeys first brought one of the types of the virus, Ebola-Reston, into the United States from the Philippines.[6] Humans can receive the Ebola hemorrhagic fever from infected animals. Humans can also pass on the virus to other humans through contaminated needles or contaminated internal fluid.[8]

Pigs, mandrills, gorillas, chimpanzees, and porcupines are a few of the animals that spread this virus. Bats seem to be the most common carriers because the effects of the virus show very little effect on them. [9] The virus spreads so quickly through many people because when a person becomes infected, their family usually tries to treat them and care for them. Most of the time, the family comes in contact with the infected person’s bodily fluid, which spreads the virus. Also, the Ebola hemorrhagic fever was noticed to spread easier when doctor’s in African hospitals did not utilize the masks, gowns, etc. [10] The virus can also spread through sexual contact because it could be secreted through the genitals.[11] Ebola-Reston, a subtype of the Ebola virus, was found in Virginia where it spreads not between humans but between monkeys. The virus was found to be air-borne. Although the Ebola virus proves itself to be air-borne, no evidence has been found that it spreads through the air between humans.[1]

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment for the Ebola virus could be difficult because the early symptoms are the same as those of other ailments. Once the patient begins to show various other symptoms that are related to the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, then they can begin the diagnosis. Samples of the individual’s blood are taken to determine whether or not they have been infected with malaria. The diagnosis for the Ebola hemorrhagic fever includes: IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testing, polymerase chain reaction testing, and Antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testing. As of today, the treatment for this fever seems to be unknown. Although there is no cure, the infected individual’s symptoms would be treated. Sustaining their oxygen and blood pressure status, caring for infections, and equalizing their fluids and electrolytes are examples of the treatment.[10] Patients are hospitalized but the antiviral medicines given for the majority of virus infections do nothing to help in this situation.[7]

Once an individual is found to have the Ebola HF, precautions can be taken to try and prevent the Ebola hemorrhagic fever from spreading. A person around someone who is infected should wear a mask, goggles, a gown, and gloves to protect themselves. It is important that the hospital equipment and tools used around a patient are carefully sterilized. Another way to prevent the spread of the Ebola HF is to isolate ones who are infected and keep them away from ones who aren’t infected.[10] Doctor’s utilize the “barrier technique”, which is a list of actions used to isolate an infected patient. Firstly, the doctor’s who are in close contact with the patient must use protective gear such as masks, gowns, and goggles. Secondly, visitors are prohibited to see the patient, despite the relation. Thirdly, any materials that became in contact with the patient, that can be thrown away, are immediately destroyed (burned). Also, the tools used that are reusable are to be completely and precisely uncontaminated. Lastly, the surfaces in the patient’s room must be also sterilized and disinfected. [11]


A nurse takes care of a man suspected of having the Ebola virus.

Ebola virus symptoms do not appear for about two to three weeks after being infected. This is known as the incubation period (the time after the virus has entered a person’s body and before the symptoms begin to become evident).[1] The symptoms of a patient who have the Ebola hemorrhagic fever consist of a high fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, chills, fatigue, achy back, diarrhea, arthritis, and a sore throat. Patients in the later stages portray various other symptoms like a rash over the body that is full of blood, depression, bleeding from nose, eyes, and ears, pain in skin, red roof of mouth, and genital swelling. [7] Some patients may experience hiccups as well as internal bleeding and stomach pain. It is still a mystery why most people die from this severe fever but some survive.[6] Doctors have discovered that the people who do not survive the Ebola hemorrhagic fever haven’t developed a strong enough immune system in time. [12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Schoenstadt, Arthur. Spread of Ebola Med TV. Web. Date-of-access: Nov. 15, 2012.
  2. Lutwick, Larry. Ebola Virus Statistics Health Tap. Web. Date-of-access: Nov. 16, 2012.
  3. Perlin, David. Ebola: Africa's Bloody Disease Info Please. Web. Date-of-access: Nov. 16, 2012.
  4. Resenberg, Jennifer. Ebola Outbreaks in Sudan and Zaire Web. Date-of-access: Oct. 27, 2012.
  5. Waterman, Tara. Brief General History of Ebola EbolaGeneralHistory. Web. Date-of-publication: 1999.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Known Cases and Outbreaks of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, in Chronological Order Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. Date-of-last-update: July 31, 2012. Author Unknown.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Goldman, L. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever The New York Times. Web. Date-of-publication: Aug., 25, 2011.
  8. Vorvick, Linda. Ebola hemorrhagic fever - Overview University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. Date-of-access: Nov. 12, 2012.
  9. Anitei, Stefan. How does Ebola spread? Softpedia. Web. Date-of-publication: Nov. 15, 2006 .
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 unknown author. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever: Fact Sheet Web MD. Web. Date-of-access: Nov.12, 2012.
  11. 11.0 11.1 unknown author. Ebola Virus Hemorrhagic Fever Illinois Department of Public Health-Health Beat. Web. Date-of-access: Nov. 15, 2012.
  12. unknown author. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (HF)". Web. Date-of-access: Nov. 15, 2012.