The Ebola Virus

1631 Words Sep 23rd, 1999 7 Pages
The Ebola Virus

A virus is an ultramicroscopic infectious organism that, having no independent metabolic activity, can replicate only within a cell of another host organism. A virus consists of a core of nucleic acid, either RNA or DNA, surrounded by a coating of antigenic protein and sometimes a lipid layer surrounds it as well. The virus provides the genetic code for replication, and the host cell provides the necessary energy and raw materials. There are more than 200 viruses that are know to cause disease in humans. The Ebola virus, which dates back to 1976, has four strains each from a different geographic area, but all give their victims the same painful, often lethal symptoms. The Ebola virus is a member of a family of
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Close contact and dirty needles spread the Ebola virus. The center of the epidemic in Zaire involved a missionary hospital where they reused needles and syringes without sterilization. Most of the staff of the hospital got sick and died. This outbreak infected 318 with a death rate of 93% (Le
Guenno et al. 1271). Another fatal case was reported one year later in Zaire but nothing major ever became of it. The most recent case recorded was the infamous breakout in Kikwit, Zaire. This breakout had the world in an uproar about the possibility of this virus spreading out globally. This outbreak appeared to have started with a patient who had surgery in Kikwit on April 10,
1995. Members of the surgical team then developed symptoms similar to those of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease (Ebola Info. from the CDC 2). From there, the disease spread to more than 300 others. The most frequent symptoms at the onset were fever (94%), diarrhea (80%), and server weakness (74%); other symptoms included dysphagia (41%) and hiccups (15%). Clinical signs of bleeding occurred in 38% of cases (JAMA 274: 373). The World Heath Organization declared on
August 24, 1995 that the outbreak of Ebola Zaire in Kikwit was officially over after killing 244 of its 315 known victims ("Ebola Outbreak Officially Over" 1).
This outbreak had a rate of death over 75%. Ebola Sudan also occurred in 1976 about the same time as Ebola Zaire.
The number of cases was 284 with a death rate of 53% (Le

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