Ebola Virus Infection Treatment & Management

1183 words - 5 pages

“Scientists in Canada announced the successful treatment of Ebola viral infection in monkeys. The encouraging results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on June 13.” - www.healthmap.org

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that was first recorded in 1976, when an outbreak occurred in Yambuku, Zaire, a country that was latter renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo (Walsh, Biek & Real, 2005). During the outbreak 318 cases were recorded of which 280 (88%) died. Later the same year, an outbreak occurred in Sudan where 284 cases were recorded with fatality rate of 53%. The disease and the virus that cause it are named after River Ebola that passes though Yambuku. In the USA, Ebola killed several monkeys in Reston, Virginia in 1989 (Barton, 2006; CDC, 2000). Despite several other outbreaks, the disease has neither medically approved pre-exposure nor post-exposure interventions. However, ongoing research shows optimistic signs.

The early symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever are characterized by high fever, chills, malaise and myalgia. The next phase of the disease is characterizes by hematemesis, (the vomiting of blood), diarrhea with blood, abdominal pain, and drained of physical strength, sore throat, edema, confusion, and uncontrolled bleeding at venipuncture sites (Bardi, 2002; Hensley, Jones, Feldmann, Jahrling, & Geisbert, 2005).

The virus has direct impact on the immune system, and it is known to infect macrophages. It has been hypothesized that infection of macrophages is one of the causes for development of hemorrhage. The virus also causes high production of cytokines. Due to infection, lymphocytes die in large numbers, causing reduction of T-cells and natural Killers (Hensley, Jones, Feldmann, Jahrling, & Geisbert, 2005).
The virus also infects endothelial cells, where most replication occurs. Infection endothelial cell may be the main cause of hemorrhage and vascular damage. When tested for Ebola viral antigens, some endothelial cells of tissues used for autopsy have shown positive results (Hensley, Jones, Feldmann, Jahrling, & Geisbert, 2005).

Apart from human, Ebola also infect other primates including gorillas and chimpanzees (Walsh, Biek & Real, 2005). The virus has also been found in the fruit bat. In a research conducted by Leroy and colleagues IgG antibody to Ebola was recorded in 8.3% of the fruit bats under study. This study hypothesized that fruit bats are the natural reservoir for Ebola virus. According to results of laboratory studies, fruit bats have been able to support replication of Ebola Virus without showing any symptoms of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Leroy, Kumulungui, Pourrut et al. 2006).

Because the most common form of infection remains direct contact with bodily fluids (Bardi, 2002), it has been suggested Ebola infected human when hunters came in to contact with infected primate carcasses. During the first outbreak, with little knowledge of the mode of infection,...

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