History and Origins of the Ebola Virus

Modified: 8th Feb 2020
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This paper will first explore about the history of Ebola virus and how it has been originated. Ebola is a deadly virus and so we will try to understand how Ebola works and how it affects people. The paper will go in depth of the structure of the Ebola virus and how it spreads in our body. Then this paper will explore in depth about the signs and symptoms of Ebola Virus. Since this virus is easily spreadable, we will see how this virus can be transferred from one host to another. Then we will look at some of the outbreaks that happened in West Africa 2014 and the three other countries for the major outbreaks of Ebola. Finally, this paper will explore some prevention technique and some possible vaccine that have been found in 2014.

Ebola Virus

 One of the deadliest diseases in the history of mankind is Ebola which impacts a lot of people on the Asian and African side. It is a deadly virus which causes sever effects on the person having Ebola which can also lead to dead. However, in USA the chances of having Ebola are extremely rare which is very close to 0%. Even though USA put a hold to some people traveling from the infected countries when the Ebola Virus had a major outbreak.

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Ebola is a virus which affects people and nonhuman primates like monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees. This was first discovered in 1976 near the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then it has been affecting people especially in several African countries. Many scientists believe that virus came from an animal and they predict bats are most like the source of this virus which got passed to nonhuman primate which is then slowly transmitted to humans.

Ebola looks like a worm shaped virus which have the ability to assemble new viruses very quickly. They have a genetic material called RNA which helps them to multiply rapidly in a host body. In order for Ebola virus to live, it needs a host so that it can replicate and cause damage to the host. The Ebola virus must travel through cell membrane so that it can hijack cell’s machinery for its own benefits. It takes an advantage of a non-specific engulfing process called micropinocytosis which allows the virus to enter a cell by a wave like motion. The Ebola virus is usually closed in a package which contains RNA for reproduction. Then it sticks out a protein from its membrane called Glycoprotein which binds to the receptors on the cell surface. Then this binding to the receptors triggers process which eats the cell membrane and get merged inside the cell. The virus’s RNA is uncoated once the Ebola virus is inside the cell. This way the Ebola virus hijacks the human cell’s proteins to reproduce itself in its host’s body.

Once the virus is inside the cell, Ebola targets several immune cells in human body. The white blood cells are also destroyed and thus the overall defense system of the human body lowers significantly. However, the lymphocytes don’t become infected with the virus but the lack of stimulation from some cells and toxic signals from others prevent these primary immune cells defending the human organs. Ebola virus travels to different parts of the body through blood vessels. This can cause small clots throughout the blood vessels and reduces blood supply to organs. The lines of the blood vessels are also damaged causing them to leak as the Ebola virus produces some inflammatory signaling protein and nitric oxide. Ebola virus also target several vital organs by triggering a system wide inflammation and fever which damage many cells. These damaged cells lead diarrhea which causes dehydration to the host. Ebola also regulate blood pressure and causes circulatory failure which will prevent supply oxygen to organs which will lead to organ failure.

The symptoms usually show up to 2 to 21 days after the Ebola infection occurred. The first and most common symptom of having Ebola is high fever as the temperature of the body increase due to restricted blood flow. There can be extreme pain in the abdomen, chest and joints. The patient can also feel pain in the muscle area as the oxygen supply to the muscle decrease. Thus it damages a lot of cell in the muscle area and thus leads to muscle loss and pain. The patient can also suffer from severe dehydration as Ebola causes diarrhea. Moreover, Ebola also leads sever sweating which contributes to more dehydration. From Gastrointestinal perspective, a patient can suffer from nausea and vomiting. There can be higher chance of vomiting blood since Ebola causes leakage in the blood vessel and highly contributes for organ damage. Due to high blood pressure and blood leakage from blood vessels, the patient may have eye redness or red spots on skins.

There is lot of Outbreaks that happened during 2014 to 2016 on the West part of the Africa. Since, Ebola virus came from nonhuman primate, the disease can be easily transmitted by simply touching or eating the infected primates. One of the most common ways that most viruses spread from one human to another is through the touch of blood or body fluids. These body fluids include urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, and breast milk. Ebola can also be transmitted through object like needles and syringes which can be contaminated with body fluids from a person who have Ebola virus. Ebola is also transported through fruit bats or primates since they are the first animal to transport this virus to human. However, food or water or air cannot be used to spread Ebola.

The major Ebola outbreak that began in West Africa was in 2014. The three countries most affected by the outbreak are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Seventy percent of the infected people in West Africa died due to Ebola. In November 2014, the centers for disease control and prevention has ordered two point seven million dollar in protective equipment for health care workers to wear while treating Ebola Patients. The most death that happened during this Ebola outbreak is in Liberia. There were ten thousand six hundred sixty-six cases during this outbreak. However, the largest Ebola case was in Sierra Leone which has three thousand nine hundred and Fifty-five deaths in total. This outbreak ends in 2016 March. Although in United States, there are only four cases for Ebola Virus. And out of those four cases, only one died. The outbreak of Ebola Virus in United States is comparatively nothing to the outbreaks in Country like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Ebola virus Outbreak in United States ended on twenty first December 2014. In total as of eighth May 2016, there 28,616 Ebola cases around the World and 11310 people died due to the Ebola disease. However, there are 17 percent of Ebola cases that went unreported. The monthly deaths from Ebola disease dropped rapidly during the end of 2015

It is important to practice careful hygiene in order to prevent getting infected by Ebola. Since bats and primal animals are the main and primary source of Ebola disease, it is mandatory to avoid contact with those animals when traveling into Ebola affected country. Even eating the meat of these animals is also prohibited as the Ebola virus can stay in muscle cell and can be transmitted through our human body by digestion.  It is highly mandatory to avoid facilities where Ebola patients are being treated since the chance of getting infected by Ebola virus is extremely high there even though if there are proper sanitization and protections. However, if anyone by any chance got direct contact with the infected person then it is mandatory to notify health officials to stay on the safe side.

However, there is no licensed medicine for Ebola. The treatment that was made to treat Ebola is not FDA approved. Currently, the most powerful treatment for Ebola is intensive supportive care. It is extremely important to balance the patient’s fluid and electrolytes. There must be constant checkup to maintain their oxygen status and blood pressure since Ebola prevents oxygen reaching to the organs which eventually leads to organ failure. However, there are two Ebola vaccines which were founded in October 2014. The first vaccine was cAd3-ZEBOV which was developed by GlaxoSmithKline with the collaboration of United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. The second vaccine was Rvsv-ZEBOV which was developed by public Health agency of Canada in Winnipeg along with company based in Ames, IA name NewLink Genetics. This vaccine uses a weakened virus found in the livestock. The other medication treatment that can be used to treat Ebola is blood transfusion which removes the Ebola infected blood with the fresh healthy blood. Oxygen therapy is also used to provide constant oxygen into the blood cells.

Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases in the world but currently the Ebola virus has been controlled to a great extent. The symptom of the Ebola virus is itself very deadly and the consequence of this virus can easily lead to someone’s death. Ebola can be easily and quickly transmitted from one host to another by using various transmission techniques which cause major Ebola outbreaks. Even though there are no FDA approved medicine or vaccine to cure Ebola but there are lots of treatments which can eventually cure Ebola in the long run. There are lot of ways to prevent Ebola infecting our body and it is very important for every human being to follow those prevention techniques in order to prevent catching the disease and prevent transmitting it. There are lots of scientific studies and researches are done to cure Ebola disease once and for all and as time pass by, we will someday find a cure to such deadly disease. Till then we should stay safe and aware of the entire situation for such diseases.


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6)     Keith Miller. (n.d.). Infection Mechanism of Genus Ebolavirus – microbewiki. Retrieved May 8, 2018, from https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Infection_Mechanism_of_Genus_Ebolavirus

7)     Bill Chapel. (2014, September 7). New Ebola Vaccine Is Tested In Humans, After Success In Monkeys. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/09/07/346562872/new-ebola-vaccine-is-tested-in-humans-after-success-in-monkeys

8)     How Many Ebola Patients Have Been Treated Outside of Africa? (2016, May 26). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/31/world/africa/ebola-virus-outbreak-qa.html

9)     The Editors. (2018, April 27). Ebola | Cause, Symptoms, Treatment, & Transmission. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/Ebola






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