Description of virus:
Ebola virus

  • Typically 800-1000 nm long, 80 nm in diameter.
  • Enveloped RNA virus.
  • Has thread like structure of a filovirus.
  • In center, there is a structure called nucleocapsid.external image 424px-Ebola_virus_em.jpg
  • Formed by double strand ed viral genomic RNA.
  • Spikes are 10 nm in length, and 10 nm apart.

Viral Specificity:

  • Ebola interferes with the endothelial cells lining the surface of blood cells.
  • As the blood vessel walls become damaged, blood has trouble coagulating.
  • Patients then succumb to hypovolemic shock, or decreased blood volume.

Symptoms and progression of the disease:

  • Incubation period is generally 5-18 days, but it can range from 2-15 days.
  • Illness is characterized by rapid onset of fever, muscle pain, headache, and inflammation of the pharnyx.
  • After 6 days, symptoms progress to vomiting and bloody diarrhea, and sometimes a masculopapular rash.
  • If individual develops a masculopapular rash, bleeding at needle sites and body orifices usually occurs.
    Nurses standing infront of a patient, who later died, at the Ngaliema Hospital in Kinshasa, Zaire
  • Internal and external bleeding starts as symptoms progress.

Common Methods of Transmission:

  • Transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons.
  • Transmission through oral exposure and through conjunctiva exposure is also likely.
  • Transmission may also occur when handling dead animals already carrying the virus.

Treatment and Prevention (if any):

  • There is no standard treatment for Ebola, and no vaccine available.
  • Treatment usually consists of balancing electrolytes and maintaining oxygen and blood levels. (Supportive Therapy)
  • Replacing lost coagulation factors to help stop bleeding.

  • There are 5 strains of the Ebola virus, 4 of which infect humans, Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast and Ebola-Bundibugyo.
  • Only Ebola-Reston has been reported to infect primates, but not humans.
  • Ebola-Zaire is the most lethal strain.
  • Virus is named after the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Virus was relatively obscure until an outbreak of the disease in a group of monkeys in the US was largely publicized.

Resources accessed:

Author of Article: Wikipedia Contributors
Title of Article: Ebola
URL: http://www.wikipedia.org/ebola
Date: Oct. 24, 2010

Author of Article: CDC
Title of Article: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
URL: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/spb/mnpages/dispages/ebola.htm
Date: April 9, 2009

Author of Article: World Health Organization
Title of Article: Ebola hemorrhagic Fever
Date: Oct. 23, 2010