People think about death – some more than others, but it’s a thought that happens. We don’t know how or when we will die, and we don’t know exactly what happens after death. It is natural that we wonder about death. Some people even have ways they think they would prefer to die – for example, a quick death over a long drawn-out illness that culminated in death. One of the worst ways I can think of to die would involve uncontrollable bleeding. From orifices. Like Ebola. I think it’s fairly safe to assume that most people would consider that Ebola would be a particularly terrible and terrifying way to die. Is that fear of death, and a horrible death at that, the reason that we are hearing more about Ebola outbreaks? As you may recall from my tick research, I conquer my fears by investigating them and writing about them – while Ebola is not a personal fear of mine, I entertain the potentially narcissistic thought that an investigation and article from me on the virus may help someone who is troubled by the topic.
What is Ebola?
The inbucation period of the Ebola virus averages about one week, although it varies from two days to 21 days. Symptoms include a sudden fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat that becomes worse over time. These are known as non-specific symptoms because many illnesses have similar symptoms. The onset of the sore throat is followed by a rash, severe abdominal pain, reduced kidney and liver function, vomiting, and diarrhea. Then the bleeding starts. Both internal and external bleeding are involved, although it is noted that not every case includes the hemorrhagic bleeding for which the virus was originally named.
The virus is structurally similar to the Marburg virus (hemorrhagic fever from Germany) but functions differently.
The illness is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids a person or animal infected with the virus. According to the World Health Organization, men who contract the virus and recover still pass the virus to others through their semen for up to seven weeks after they have recovered. The infection is believed to originate from bushmeat, or hunted meat from the forests that helps the people supplement their limited food supply, such as fruit bats, monkeys, antelope, and porcupines.
What is the History of Ebola?
In the fall of 1976, during the months of September and October, 318 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in and around Zaire – within 70 kilometers of Yambuku in the Bumba Zone of the Equator Region in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
In this first outbreak of the disease in 1976, it affected both men and women and knew no age boundaries, but women of childbearing age (15-29) were infected the most – they received injections from prenatal and outpatient clinics at the hospital. At the same time of this outbreak in Bumba, there was also an outbreak in Sudan ear Nzara – a journey that takes no longer that four days, which is less than the known incubation period. No correlation was found for the two locations, but officials estimated that someone in Sudan was affected and transferred the illness to the Yambuku clinic when he or she received an injection at the clinic.
In a subsequent post, I will be covering the current state of the Ebola virus, as well as looking into the treatment and vaccines that have been discussed during this outbreak. To be quite frank, I’ve had this article sitting around written to this point for quite a while now and just wanted to post it now since I don’t have time to finish it just yet.