TheEbola virus belongs to the Ebolavirus genus and it is the mostdangerous in the genus. The Ebola virus is responsible for causingEbola hemorrhagic fever which is transmitted biologically. It israted as a risk 4 pathogen by WHO and is abbreviated as EBOV. Thevirus was first detected in the Democratic Republic of Congo and itis named after Ebola River, which is located in the area where it waslocated. The virus has a threadlike structure and it is made up ofamino acids.
Itis made up of filovirus, which are tubular but can vary in shapes andsizes. The virons have an average diameter of 80 nm and they arecovered with a layer of lipids that have a glycoprotein layer, whichprojects itself as spikes on the surface of the viron (Taylo,Leach & Bruenn, 2010).The length of the viron measures between 800nm to 1000nm. The vironsare made up of single- strands of negative- sense RNA. The geneticcode is made up of seven structural proteins with only one non-structural protein. The leader and the tail of the genetic make- upare long as they carry significant information that are in charge ofreplication, transcription and packaging.
Theinfection of the Ebola virus is dependent on the NPC1 gene in orderto infect human cells. The Ebola virus, like all other viruses,depends on the metabolism of the host cell in order to multiply inthe cell. Once it enters the body, the virus attaches itself to thehost cell using the glycoprotein surface known as peplomer. Thevirus’ membrane fuses with the vesicle membrane and thenucleocapsid is let into the cytoplasm of the host cell (Klenk& Feldmann, 2004).The Ebola virus then uses the host cell’s metabolism to covert themRNA into viral proteins in order to be activated. The virus keepsincreasing into the cell until it it starts replicating. Thenucleocapsids formed then associate with the host’s plasma membraneand destroys the host cell.
Ebolahas target cells, which facilitate its multiplication and survival.They include mononuclearphagocytes,Endothelialcells, and hepatocytes.The Ebola virus secretes the Ebola virus glycoprotein (GP) once theinfection occurs. The virus then replicates itself very quickly andthis overcomes the process of protein synthesis of the cell, and itsimmune defenses. The GP is the main player during infection as itforms a trimeric complex which attaches the virus to the endothelialcells which are located on the inner side of blood vessels (Flemming,2011).The GP also assists the virus to avoid the immune system by formingthe diametric protein, which interferes with the white blood cellssignals. The white blood cells then become carriers for the virusthroughout the body.
Theviral particles destroy cells and cause cell budding, which resultsin the secretion of cytokines, which result in fever andinflammation. This is called the cytopathic effect and causes theloss of vascular integrity (Klenk& Feldmann, 2004).The loss of vascular integrity is facilitated by the synthesis of theEbola virus glycoprotein. The GP lowers certain integrins, whichcauses cells to adhere to the inter- cellular structure (Flemming,2011).It also causes destruction of the liver and this result incoagulopathy. These are the main effects to the body’s physiologyand anatomy. The virus acts by destroying cells and this is whatcauses it to be very fatal.
TheEbola virus affects a person at two to three weeks after contractingthe virus. The virus is contracted through bodily fluids. If anuninfected person gets into contact with a person’s or an animal’sblood or other bodily fluids, the virus gets transmitted and it isimmediately attaches itself to the cells of the host (Klenk& Feldmann, 2004).It is said that the virus can be transmitted by men who have beeninfected but survived for up to two months after infection. Thedisease manifests itself through hemorrhage from mucous membranes andpuncture- sites. However, excessive bleeding is not common and itoften occurs in the gastrointestinal tract.
Thebleeding from mucous membranes occurs in about 40 to 50 percent ofthe reported cases. Another 50 percent of the infected patientsexperience maculopapular rashes. Bleeding is what causes suddendeaths in a certain percent of the population (Wamala,2010).The bleeding is what causes Ebola to be classified as hemorrhagicfever. Severe cases of the disease result in excessive bleeding(Klenk& Feldmann, 2004).The bleeding is what makes the disease result in deaths in mostcases. The disease affects animals, birds and human beings. The highfatality associated with the disease makes it very dangerous virus.
Ebolamanifests itself as influenza which characteristics such as muscularpain, chest pains, chills, malaise, and joint pains. These are thenfollowed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains. Theseaffect the general body and result in weakness (Mayo,2002).The virus then affects the respiratory tract and this ischaracterized by cough, hiccups, pharyngitis and dyspnea. The Ebolavirus also interferes with the central nervous system and this ischaracterized by headaches, fatigue, depression, seizures, andsometimes, comas (Klenk& Feldmann, 2004).The virus can also manifest itself as petechiae,maculopapularrash, ecchymoses,purpura,and ecchymoses.The cause of death in Ebola fever is multiple organ dysfunctionsystem that is caused by the destruction of cells (Klenk& Feldmann, 2004).The most basic indicator of Ebola is travel history and contact withanimals. Clinical tests detect the virus through ebolavirus antigen.
TheEbola virus is fatal with sixty eight percent of the cases resultingin death. If a person survives, he may recover within a short or longperiod. A complete recovery is possible or it can result in long termissues such as skin peeling, joint pains, and inflammation of thetesticles, hair loss and muscular pains (Wamala,2010).The virus also affects the eyes and results in light sensitivity,choroiditis, blindness, and excessive tearing. In some cases, theEbola virus can spread to the sperms and result in sexualtransmission of the virus. The disease is classified as a risk grouppathogen and requires bio- safety (Mayo,2002). Laboratory personnel must be well trained and wear protective gearwhen dealing with the Ebola virus. Medical personnel ought to alsowear protective gear when dealing with Ebola patients.
Thedisease mostly kills when there are epidemics and it kills most ofits patients as they are located in remote areas with high illiteracypopulations or poor medical facilities. The disease outbreaks havemostly affected Africans with a bulk of the outbreaks being in theDemocratic Republic of Congo and Uganda (Wamala,2010).The virus originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virusaffects both men and women in equal measure. It also affects peopleof all ages. The disease has no approved vaccine and it is apotential virus for biological warfare (Hoenen,2006).Most of the cases of Ebola occur in outbreaks where they kill most ofthe patients. The high death rates are attributed to the hightransmission rates of the disease.
Thedisease has also been detected in Italy, the United States andPhilippines. However, the detected viruses are strains and they areisolated cases. The bulk of the disease occurs among Africans wholive in remote areas. This is attributed to low literacy levels andpoor access to medical facilities (Wamala,2010).Burial rituals are also a cause of the high number of deaths as thedisease stays active for at least seventy two hours after the deathof a patient. Additionally, the disease spreads in specific areas dueto restriction of movement of patients as it often occurs in remoteareas (Hoenen,2006).Scientists have found no connection between the incidence of thedisease and African patients. The incidences in Africa only areattributed to geographical factors.
Ebolahas no known treatment and the treatment offered is supportive. Thetreatment aims at balancing fluids so as to reduce dehydration, painmanagement, maintaining healthy oxygen levels, administration ofantibiotics in secondary cases, administering procoagulants so as tocontrol hemorrhage in secondary cases, and administeringanticoagulants to reduce intravascular coagulation in primary cases(Hoenen,2006).These therapies often aim at reducing the effects of the disease onthe patient and controlling its spread in the body. The success ratesare, however, low as most cases are reported late. Those who survivelate cases may have other problems and those who survive early casesmay get completely cured.
Inconclusion, the Ebola virus was first detected in communities livingalong the Ebola River in Zaire (now DRC) and this was the source ofits name. The disease has a high fatality rate as it destroys cellsand it has an incubation period of between two to three weeks. Thedisease mainly affects Africans living in remote areas with poormedical facilities and low literacy rates. It affects men and womenof all ages. The disease mostly kills in outbreaks due to its hightransmission rates. It is transmitted through body fluids.
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