The Ebola Virus

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Normally infecting fruit bats, the Ebola virus found a mutation allowing it to spread to humans. This virus is an acute and often fatal illness. This virus first erupted in two outbreaks in 1976 (one occurring in Nzara and Sudan, while the other occurred in a village near the Ebola river, where the virus takes its name.) The current outbreak, starting in West Africa with the potential to spread throughout the world, is larger and more complex than previous outbreaks. This virus has caused more deaths than all other past Ebola outbreaks combined. With approximately five people infected with the virus every hour in Sierra Leone alone, how far – and how fast – will the Ebola virus go? The Ebola virus is one of three members in the Filoviridae virus family. It attacks the cell membranes of white and red blood cells, thinning out the blood and causing the organism to suffer severe blood problems. It thus triggers a system-wide inflammation and fever and can damage tissues in the body. The damage to blood vessels leads to a drop in blood pressure, and patients can die from shock and m...

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