The Ebola Virus: History, Occurrences, and Effects

1222 Words5 Pages
"The only sound is a choking in his throat as he continues to vomit while unconscious. Then comes a sound like a bed sheet being torn in half, which is the sound of his bowels opening at the sphincter and venting blood. The blood is mixed with his intestinal lining. He has sloughed off his gut. The lining of his intestines have come off and are being expelled along with huge amounts of blood" (Preston 17).

Ebola, a virus which acquires its name from the Ebola River (located in Zaire, Africa), first emerged in September 1976, when it erupted simultaneously in 55 villages near the headwaters of the river. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and resulted in the deaths of nine out of every ten victims. Although it originated over 20 years ago, it still remains as a fear among African citizens, where the virus has reappeared occasionally in parts of the continent. In fact, and outbreak of the Ebola virus has been reported in Kampala, Uganda just recently, and is still a problem to this very day. Ebola causes severe viral hemorrhagic fevers in humans and monkeys, and has a 90 % fatality rate. Though there is no cure for the disease, researchers have found limited medical possibilities to help prevent one from catching this horrible virus.

The Ebola virus can be passed from one person into another by bodily contact. Airborne transmission of Ebola has not yet been confirmed, as there is no substantial evidence of this occurring. Researchers are still to this day observing the ways of transmission of this virus from one person to the next. In previous outbreaks, this infection has often occurred among hospital care workers or family members who were caring for an ill or dead person infected with the virus. Blood and body fluids contain large amounts of virus, thus transmission of the virus has also occurred as a result of hypodermic needles being reused in the treatment of patients. Under-financed health care facilities in countries such as Zaire, Gabon, and Sudan find reusing needles a common practice. This contributes the vast amount of fatalities of this virus in these cities.

The general geographic region that has been most affected by the different strains of the Ebola virus is Central Africa, namely the cities of Zaire, Sudan, and Gabon. The first known occurrence of Ebola was found in a man by the name of Charles Monet, who had currently taken a trip...

... middle of paper ...

...ving things carry viruses in their cells. Even fungi and bacteria and inhabited by viruses and are occasionally destroyed by them. A virus makes copies of itself in a cell until eventually the cell gets pigged with virus and pops and the viruses spill out of the broken cell. If enough cells are destroyed, such as they do in the case of Ebola, the host dies. A virus does not "want" to kill its host. That is not in the best interest of the virus, because then the virus may also die, unless it can jump fast enough out of the dying host into a new host.

Ebola Zaire, a type of strain of Ebola, attacks every organ and tissue in the human body except skeletal muscle and bone. Small blood clots begin to appear in the bloodstream. The blood then thickens and slows, and the clots fit together in a mosaic. The mosaic thickens and throws more clots and the clots drift through the bloodstream into the small capillaries, where they get stuck. This shuts off the blood supply to various parts of the body, causing dead spots to appear in the brain, liver, kidneys, lings, intestines, and all through the skin.

Works Cited

Preston, Richard. The Hot Zone. New York: Random, 1994.

More about The Ebola Virus: History, Occurrences, and Effects

Open Document