EBOLA: Basics to be aware about ( From Competitive Exam Perspective)

EBOLA Virus Disease (EVD) was formerly known as EBOLA Hemorrhagic fever. It is transmitted to people from wild animals and humans. Human to human transmission increases its spread because of larger population, better transportation facilities and increased density of population.

It is deadly disease as fatality rate is more than 70%.

First EVD outbreak occured in remote village of Africa but currently EVD outbreak are in urban area and therefore more menacing.

First it occurred at Nzara-Sudan and Yambuku-Congo ( near river EBOLA- from where it got its name). Fruit bats, Pteropodidae, are the natural hosts for Ebola virus. This virus is transmitted through close contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals like chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, antelopes and porcupines.

It has incubation period of 2 to 21 days, The symptoms are fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. It is difficult to distinguish EVD symptoms from Malaria and Typhoid.

Human to human transmission can take place through direct contact or contaminated surfaces. Therefore, health care workers are at greater risks to get affected. Also, in countries like Africa burial ceremonies involve direct contact of deceased body with mourners increases its spread.

Investigation Tests:
Following investigation tests are conducted but with limited success:
a. Antibody Capture Enzyme linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
b. Antigen Capture Detection Test
c. Serum Naturalisation Test
d. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) Assay
e. Electron Microscopy

How to control:
Community engagement is the key to successfully controlling outbreaks- case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization are the key to control the outbreak.
Also, early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival.

There are two potential candidates for vaccines for the same, but so far there is not a single vaccine is there for EVD.

Past Major Outbreaks:

2012                 Congo           57 Cases       29 Deaths
2007                 Uganda         149 Cases     37 Deaths
2007                 Congo           264 Cases     187 Deaths
2003                 Congo           143 Cases     128 deaths
2000                 Uganda         425 Cases      224 Deaths
( Data Taken from WHO)